I know, I know. Before you tell me anything, I already know that traditional arepas are gluten-free by nature because they are made with cornflour. Let’s discover How to make arepas gluten-free. But if you have been in the gluten-free world for a little while, you will know (or should know) that celiac people are not worth any flour. Hence, I talk about these arepas being gluten-free: I made them with certified gluten-free precooked corn flour.
You can get pre-cooked corn flour PAN (both white and yellow corn) labeled gluten-free. You can also find one in Mercadona of its white label. For a long time, Doñarepa flour was talked about as suitable for celiacs, but the truth is that to this day, I don’t know if this is still the same: I haven’t bought it for a long time. So my recommendation is, of course, to play it safe.
How to make arepas gluten-free?
The history of these arepas is a bit long, but the most beautiful thing about it is that it showed me how much we always have to learn and how well the community does us.
A few months ago, I posted some arepas on my Instagram that I was quite happy with. They were delicious and I had enjoyed them a lot. And suddenly, a lot of people, very kindly, which is the best of all, began to tell me better things about my arepas. They were quite cracked and they immediately detected what he had done wrong. So the Instagram post became a well of knowledge for people who carry many arepas on their backs (not as a server, I have many more meals than I have done).
A long time and a book in between later, I made the arepas again, putting into practice every one of the advice I had received and asked the experts in the field. Many of them approved me with flying colors and I finally felt fulfilled.
The only downside that I have always seen with this recipe, with the permission of the experts areperos, is that as easy as it is, it is a bit difficult to transmit to new people. In case you don’t know, the traditional way of making this recipe is to add the liquid and gradually add the flour “that admits”. And I understand that this “measure” can be a bit tricky to grasp. There are many people out there who need a little clearer guide to at least jump into testing. I am convinced that they are encouraged to practice to know the texture of the dough and find the exact measurements from this.
I will also say, several factors influence the final texture of the dough:
- The amount of salt that we put
- Flour moisture
- Relative humidity
- The water’s temperature
- The kneading and resting time
Of course, with so many factors, anyone gambles to give exact and closed amounts. So I’m telling you that I’m going to provide you with some initial amounts to have where to start from, but depending on those five points you should be prepared to add a little more liquid or a little more flour. Do you dare? Let’s go there!
Ingredients (for two large arepas or three smaller ones):
- 140 g of precooked white or yellow cornmeal (yellow has a more marked corn flavor, I like it much better)
- 140 g of water
- 140 g of milk (it can be lactose-free or all water, perfectly)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
Mix the liquids and warm them. They should be quite warm: this will favor the absorption of the liquid and become less dry when grilled.
Add the salt and gradually add the flour and mix at the same time by hand. If you don’t like the dough sticking to your hand, you can use a spatula first.
Mix the dough well until it is uniform. You don’t need to knead a lot and it will be very soft. The photo is not fully appreciated because of the flour’s graininess, but some say that it must have the texture of Play-Doh plasticine (plasticine that I have not touched in my life, what things!).
Let it sit for about 3 minutes to finish absorbing water.
Divide the dough into two or three equal portions, form balls and flatten them until you have chubby discs. The dough will not grow when you make it.
Put on a hot griddle over low heat and grill covered until completely detached from the griddle. You can put a little oil on the grill, but it is not necessary.
Turn the arepas over and finish making them covered. This will allow them to be completely done on the inside without becoming too dehydrated, cracking them.
- When forming, they still need to stick a little bit to your hands. They are not indomitable, but there is still a very thin layer of dough stuck to the hand, do not panic.
- This method is especially interesting for grilling them. If you are going to make them fried, the issue of hydration is not so delicate since they do not dehydrate so much. Fried is actually how I like them best, but I hate frying and of course, they are less healthy.
- If you see that they are very dry or even drying out waiting for you when you form them, you can slightly moisten your hands and re-form. You will see how they immediately become a little softer and with the surface not at all dry.
- You can fill them with whatever you want. Likely, the fewer experts do not canonical fillers, but the important thing is that we enjoy them.