Stuffed Grilled Cheese Arepas
By Jenny Pham
If you’re a corn lover, you are bound to fall in love with arepas. Arepas are essentially corn cake patties that resemble enlarged english muffins. They are most popular in South America, notably Columbia and Venezuela, and are usually served with various fillings. Since corn is such a versatile ingredient, arepas could be paired with a range of sweet and/or salty ingredients to make the perfect snack or meal.
So what’s the difference between a Columbian arepa and a Venezuela arepa? Although they taste fairly similar, the size is the differentiating factor that causes a divide between these two kinds of arepas. While Venezuela arepas tend to run a bit bigger and thicker, making them perfect candidates to serve as sandwich buns. The thickness of Venezuelan arepas allows them to hold different types of filling, from meats to veggies or simply just cheese. Alternatively, Columbian arepas are much thinner and more often served open-faced style with cheese and butter. It depends on what you’re in the mood for, but you can never go wrong with a warm cheesy arepa.
So what do arepas taste like? These corn patties are often fried, baked, or grilled but no matter how you prep them, they always come out soft on the inside and extremely crispy on the outside. Most of the time, they are brushed with butter and stuffed with cheese so if you like the taste of cheesy movie theater popcorn, this is the recipe for you. Over the years, arepas have evolved from simple snackable corn cakes to mega stuffed sandwiches that line the street food stands of Columbia and Venezuela today.
For this recipe, we are sticking with the classic and enjoying ourselves some Latin American styled grilled cheeses.