Arepas with a Twist

Arepas with a Twist are delicious little hot pockets made with creamy cornmeal and stuffed with goodness. They are especially popular in neighboring countries like Venezuela and Colombia, where they are served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Depending on the time of the day, the filling varies from scrambled eggs, to chicken, tuna or pulled pork. You can order them at some of our local foodtrucks or simply make your own. This recipe is one of my personal favorites: flavorful snack-time arepas stuffed with creamy melted mozzarella.

Combine the cornmeal, water, oil, cilantro, jalapeño and salt in a bowl. Knead until it forms a soft, pliable, non- sticky dough. Add a little more water if it cracks when you fold it. Wrap in cling film and let rest for 10 minutes.

Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and press down into a flat disk with the palm of your hand. Warm a generous layer of oil in a frying pan over medium heat and fry the arepas on both sides until crispy and lightly browned, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towel.

Heat a griddle pan or barbecue. Carefully slice open each arepa to form a pita-like pocket and stuff them with mozzarella. Grill the arepas on both sides until they sound hollow when tapped, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, and the mozzarella has melted. Serve warm with hotsauce. •


Serves 4

  • 2 cups (250g) pre-cooked white or yellow cornmeal*
  • 2 cups (500ml) water
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons jalapeño,finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (200g) shredded mozzarellaextra: vegetable oil for frying*When making arepas, it’s important to use the special precooked variety of cornmeal such as Hariña PAN.

This is a recipe from the book “Island Vibes the Joy of Caribbean Cooking” by Curaçao chef Helmi Smeulders. Available at local bookstores and online via: