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mmuch Jul 8, 2008 04:44 PM

Can you make these with just plain fine cornmeal? They're my husbands favorite and I would like to make them for him for his birthday but I don't have the masa harina....

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  1. pikawicca RE: mmuch Jul 8, 2008 04:52 PM

    No, no no!

    Cornmeal is out; masa harina is out. You need pan harina for this. Find a Mexican market or order online; there is no acceptable substitute.

    1. Sam Fujisaka RE: mmuch Jul 8, 2008 05:16 PM

      I think that the cornmeal I use to make cornbread here is Areparina (arepa harina)--so you should be able to make arepas from your fine cornmeal. I cannot make tortillas from Areparina; and know that Masa Harina is not good for arepas.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Sam Fujisaka
        pikawicca RE: Sam Fujisaka Jul 8, 2008 05:25 PM

        I think that here in the States, what you need to make arepas would be fine corn flour -- something that's hard to come by. it might be possible to whirl cornmeal in a food processor and achieve the same result.

        1. re: pikawicca
          paulj RE: pikawicca Jul 8, 2008 05:39 PM

          However the harina for arepas that we get from Columbia and Venezuela is cooked cornmeal.

          Wouldn't uncooked cornmeal just give you hoe cakes?

          On an earlier thread I wrote:
          "Looking through the 'Latin &Caribbean Grocery Stores Demystified' book, I realized that the precooked nature of the masarepa may be as important as texture and corn type. That is, the corn is boiled, dried, and then ground."

      2. todao RE: mmuch Jul 8, 2008 06:58 PM

        It would seem reasonable to interpret the Arepa recipe group to suggest the use of common corn meal; as long as you cook it. However, Arepa flour is the key. If you cook the corn meal and prepare flour from the finished product I suppose you'd be on the right track. But I wouldn't use common corn meal for Arepas. Just about every community I know of has a store or stores that specialize in ethnic food products. If you can find masa harina, masarepa, or harina precocida in a store specializing in South American foods you're on the right track.
        If you have a WalMart (sorry if I hurt any feelings thre) you will very likely find one of those on their shelves.

        1. karmalaw RE: mmuch Jul 8, 2008 07:13 PM

          NO! You must make arepas from precooked cornmeal -- it's called" masa harina precocido" or masarepa. The key words to look for on the package are "precocido" (which means pre-cooked) or "masa para arepas" (exactly as it sounds mase for arepas). There are a number of brand names and come in either white or yellow corn versions.

          The fine cornmeal you have is NOT precooked and will not result in an arepa.

          For a good arepa use butter in the dough mixture -- AND add some shredded cheese to the dough. Make sure to let the dough set, covered with a damp cloth, for about 15 minutes before cooking -- you'll get a better arepa that way.

          1. todao RE: mmuch Jul 9, 2008 06:28 PM

            In West Virginia they serve up something they call fried corn meal mush. Sound pretty similar to me.

            1 Reply
            1. re: todao
              pikawicca RE: todao Jul 9, 2008 06:41 PM

              An arepa has nothing in common with cornmeal mush!

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