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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. 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. 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

        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

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

            1 Reply
            1. re: todao

              An arepa has nothing in common with cornmeal mush!