I am happy to say that through the movie “Encanto” finally people are learning about Colombian arepa con queso, a gluten-free flatbread made from corn and filled with lots of cheese. So today I am going to present my version of this Colombian staple to you. Arepas are a popular dish in Colombia, you will find many different versions, thick, thin, crispy, with fillings (such as cheese or egg) and at any time of the year. It can be served for breakfast, as a snack, as a side, or even as the main dish. I already introduced the basic recipe for arepas previously. Filled arepas are more common in Venezuela, I also have a recipe on my blog of filled arepas with chicken and guacamole. But today I am presenting arepas with cheese, because Colombians love anything with cheese. I may be mistaken, but arepas with cheese are probably the most popular kind of arepa and will usually be received with excitement.
Today I am introducing arepas with chicken and guacamole filling. Arepas are Colombian corn flatbread with no gluten and serve as the base for a hearty sandwich. I already introduced one filled arepa on this blog. Arepa boyacense is a popular arepa with cheese filling. Today I decided to make a plain version with a hearty filling. If prepared this way, arepas can serve as the main course, in this instance they are filled with crispy chicken pieces and the famouse avocado cream called guacamole. Many people instantly go to Mexico when they hear guacamole. However, I have learned that actually Colombians are the ones eating most avocados per capita. Every time I visited Colombia, I saw avocado being sold on the street, every bbq would have guacamole served with the rest. But rest assured, Colombian guacamole is much milder than the Mexican version, so this is not spicy at all.
Finally I am introducing the basic recipe for arepas on my blog! Arepas are a flatbread made from cornmeal. They are most popular in Colombia and Venezuela. As a German I have to say that these countries offer the same kind of varieties of arepas as breads are offered here. I already introduced arepas boyacenses, however, so far the basic recipe was missing. The reason being simple, I just felt I still didn’t know how to make perfect arepas even though it only consists of three ingredients, cornmeal, water, and salt. But now the waiting is finally over, below I am offering many tips. Hopefully they will make you confident enough so that your first arepas turn out great from the start. If making the very basic recipe, arepas are naturally gluten-free and vegan.
I had the opportunity to travel to the home country of my husband: Colombia and I feel in love with arepa boyacense. Let me tell you, this country has so much more to offer than only jungle. The mountain range the Andes come to mind, but it also has savannahs, a dessert, the Caribbean and the famous coffee region. The diversity of species is something to admire. Colombia has more than 100 (!) humming birds only. Even in the capital Bogotá with more than 10 million inhabitants you will encounter humming birds amazing you with their acrobatic movements. The variety of fruits is also astonishing. I ate fruits I had never seen or even heard of. For a penny you will get the juiciest and and sweetest fruits. The pictures I took barely capture the beauty of this country.
Colombia is a very colorful country. Maybe the huge variety of species and a general carefree attitude towards life are reasons why food is extremely important. One of the first questions I was asked during our holiday was how I liked the food. Yes, we had to explain what our travel plans were, but soon after that the conversation turned to food, inevitably. I usually replied with arepa! Arepas are as important to Colombians as bread is to Germans. Arepas are a simple corn bread and usually either fried, grilled or baked in the oven. They are served for breakfast, but you will also encounter them for lunch and dinner. Arepas come in all sizes, they are gluten free as they are made of corn flour and each region has its own variety.