Rafael’s Arepas Venezolanas

My Tio Juan Carlos makes the most amazing arepas which I dream about all the time. What makes them so good? They are thin and crunchy and he lays out loads of things to stuff them with, like chorizo, black beans and Latino cheese. My dad makes extremely nice arepas too; really big so you can put a lot of food in them. In Venezuela they have different names for arepas, like ‘La Peluda’ (the hairy one) which is filled with carne mechada (shredded beef) or ‘La Reina’ (the queen) which has chicken salad. Infact my dad has invented his own, named after where we live in London. We fill it with bacon, cheddar and guacamole and call it ‘La Crouchendera’ (The Crouch Ender).
Rafael Seijas-Wright


For Arepas

  • harina P.A.N (available in any Latin market in London)
  • water
  • pinch of salt

For Fillings:

You can fill arepas with anything you want; chicken salad, tuna, pulled pork, beef, cheddar or feta cheese, ham, eggs…here are a few of the common Venezuelan arepas

  • La Reina Pepiada: chicken and avocado salad 
  • La Peluda: shredded beef
  • La Domino: black beans and white cheese
  • And, my dad's invention...La Crouchendera: bacon, cheese, guacamole


  • Wash your hands.
  • In a medium bowl add two cups of  harina P.A.N.
  • add 2 1/1 cups water and salt and leave to rest
  • Preheat a non-stick 11-inch square pan over medium heat. ...
  • work the harina and water into a dough with your hands for 2 minutes. ...
  • Form balls in the palm of your hand and roll around until smooth large golf-like balls
  • Flatten the balls gently until they're about 1/2-inch thick discs.
  • Fry the discs gently in the pan until brown then pop them in the oven for about 20 minutes.
  • The discs should be crispy and when you tap them in the middle should make a hollow sound
  • Open the arepas in the middle with a knife, spread butter, stuff it with all the fillings you want and eat as though it were a sandwhich.