Chef Lorena Garcia
Sought-after recipe

Hispanic Heritage Month in a plate: Learn how to make Chef Lorena Garcia’s famous arepa

Taste our vibrant and expansive culture with a recipe you can make all the time

Lorena Garcia is another chef making an impact on today’s food scene. Although we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we all know this recognition should not be limited to one month. Therefore, we want to highlight our vibrant and expansive culture by sharing a recipe you can make all the time.


The celebrity chef is known for her restaurant CHICA. One of her most popular and sought-after recipes is the arepa, a cornmeal cake with a crunchy exterior and a soft interior, prevalent in Colombian Venezuelan culture.

Chef Lorena’s arepa recipe©Anthony Mair/ CHICA
Chef Lorena’s arepa recipe

A simple item yet flavorful when used to amplify the traditional eggs benedict or when paired with CHICA’s Asada Negro. Serving as a foundation in so many Latinx families, the arepa, with four simple ingredients, is an easy staple that many can learn and celebrate.


Chef Lorena’s arepa recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups precooked corn flour (masa arepa flour)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (for greasing skillet)

Method

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the precooked cornflour and salt. Add the water and knead the mixture until all the ingredients are well combined, and the dough no longer sticks to your hands. (If, while kneading, the dough seems too stiff and breaks apart, add a few tablespoons of hot water; if it is too sticky, add a little more cornflour).
  2. Divide the dough into 8 equal balls (about 41/2 ounces each) and flatten each between your palms into a 4-inch patty, ½ inch thick.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Add 3 or 4 arepas to the pan (depending on the size of the pan). The arepas should sizzle as they hit the skillet.
  4. Cook the arepas until they’re golden and have a nice crust, 6 to 8 minutes. Flip them and brown the other side for an additional 6 to 8 minutes. Then cover the arepas and continue to steam them for another 5 minutes.
  5. Serve and enjoy!