25 Jul Arepas for the Soul: Reina Pepiada Recipe
I am back with another Venezuelan recipe because my creative writing brain just won’t seem to do anything and well because I am always hungry.
Last time I wrote about a special occasion sweet treat, this week I’m doing a casual anytime savory meal…the Reina Pepiada. The Reina Pepiada is a Venezuelan style arepa with shredded chicken, avocado and mayonnaise filling. It is simple comfort food, and very easy to make. You can have it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, as a snack (or as my favorite: a midnight snack).
The Reina Pepiada is special to me because it is delicious and because it is a staple of the city my mom and her family are from, Maracaibo. The Reina Pepiada was created by the Álvarez brothers, who were inspired by Susana Duijm.
Susana Duijm, Source: https://www.ohcornarepas.com/history-of-the-reina-pepiada-the-queen
Susana Duijm, who passed away in 2016, was a Venezuelan actress, television host, model and was the first South American woman to be crowned Miss World in 1955.Reina is the word in Spanish for queen, and pepiada (in old Venezuelan vernacular) meant many things including wonderful and curvaceous (“chevere”). This delicious arepa’s name roughly translates to “Curvy Queen” and lives up to its name. My recipe for Reina Pepiada (my mom’s recipe) is as follows:
Reina Pepiada Recipe (Yields between 6-8 Servings)
- 2 cups water or milk (more or less to get to the right consistency which is when the dough does not stick to your hands as you are rolling it into a ball)
- 2 cups Pre-cooked Corn Meal (we use the brand P.A.N. which can be found in most grocery stores)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- *Optional: 2-3 tablespoons of butter and ¼ cup Queso Blanco
- 1-2 Chicken Breasts, (can be cooked any way as long as it is shredded)
- 2-3 Ripe Avocados
- 1/4 cup of mayonnaise (can be substituted for Greek yogurt for a healthier option)
- Salt & pepper to liking
- *Optional: Juice of half a lemon to avoid browning
- In a bowl fill with 2-2.5 cups water or milk and salt, usually better to start with less liquid and add more as you go as you figure out the consistency.
- Mix in pre-cooked corn meal and mix with hands (also add in optional butter and cheese at this step). Dough should get to a consistency where It does not stick to your hands.
- Once thoroughly mixed, make about 6 balls of dough of roughly the same size. Once you have the 6 balls, pat into a flat ball about ¼- ½ inch in thickness and set aside.
- Arepas can be cooked in many ways, the 3 main ways include (1) Using an arepa-toaster, which most Venezuelan households have, (2) on a flat pan on medium heat for 5 minutes on each side, looking for it to go a yellow brownish color or (3) on a flat pan on medium heat for 1-2 minutes on each side then pop in the oven at 250 degrees for about 10 minutes
- Mix shredded chicken, mashed avocado and mayonnaise in a large bowl.
- Add salt, pepper and lemon to taste preference.
- To serve, cut the arepa lengthwise so that it opens up on one side and is closed on the other. This helps all the filling stay in and the arepa not fall apart.
- Fill arepa with desired amount of filling.
- For an optional, but yummy last step, add slices or shredded white cheese of your choice on top of the filling inside the arepa.
Let me know if you try it, and what your favorite comfort food from your country is!