Email this recipe to a Friend!

A recipe for Arepas and Guasacaca A recipe for Arepas and Guasacaca Hi All! Today I want to share a little story with you. So back in May, Teri and I went on a little trip to New York, for business, with plenty of awesome food and drinks along the way, obvi. We had a great time, explored as much of the city as we possibly could, thanks to Teri who is a GENIOUS (not quite sure if that’s the right word to use, but it seems appropriate enough) when it comes to navigating. She would just whip out her iphone, pull up a map, point in the direction we needed to walk towards, and I would trail behind her knowing very well that I am completely technologically and navigationally challenged and would probably never leave the hotel if it weren’t for her…no really. The only time we got lost for a hot sec when we asked a local for subway directions and she sent us going the wrong way.

Anyways, here’s the thing about work trips, and Teri and I…in our minds work trips are work trips and when they’re over we would love nothing more than to hop on a plane and get home asap…if we could teleport, we would totally choose that option. Don’t get me wrong, we really did make the most of our trip to New York, outside of work stuff, but when it was time to go home all we could think about was, well…going home! Plus, while we loved NY we were also absolutely EXHAUSTED.

So on that fateful day we woke up ready to go home when we started thinking…checkout is at 11am…our flight is at 9pm… “Wait, what are we going to do for 10 hours?! Why did we book our flight like this?! NO!” After a number of unsuccessful attempts at switching our tickets to earlier flights, we sadly packed our things, checked out and just started walking and walking and walking. It was at this point that we sort of felt like doing a little Tobias Funke shower cry. We finally decided the only thing that could possibly make this long day bearable was arepas from Caracas. We headed straight there for a little bit of salvation.

We had been to Caracas a couple nights ago where they serve these magical little pockets of deliciousness called arepas. They’re pretty much small white corncakes that are light and crisp on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. You split them open like a pita and stuff with all sorts of awesomeness like shredded beef, marinated chunks of chicken, roasted pork shoulder, even tofu; plus they are served with guasacaca, Venezuela’s version of guacamole.  We sat down, ordered, got our food and suddenly things weren’t so bad anymore. Sure, we had the rest of the day to get through, but being able to sit for a little while and stuff our faces with arepas really made us feel better, well at least a little bit. That is until our 4 hr cab ride through gridlock traffic, to the airport, good times.

Moral of the story? When you’re having a terrible day, go and get or make yourself an arepa and everything will be A-OK ….well maybe not, but they’re really good and you’ll be so glad you made them.

xx Jenny

*side note. The guasacaca is so good, that you should really just make that by itself at some point and put it on everything. Seriously. ♥ Teri

include a photo
include a photo

Arepas Filled with Carnitas and Guasacaca
Makes 12

2 cups harina PAN (pre-cooked cornmeal)
2 ½ cups hot water
3 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing and cooking
¾ teaspoon salt
1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and quartered
1/2 small sweet onion, peeled and quartered
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 serranos, halved and seeded
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 lime, juiced
1 bunch cilantro, stemmed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste
6 cups carnitas, shredded
½ cup cotija cheese, crumbled

1. Place the PAN, water, oil, and salt in a mixing bowl and stir until the mixture just comes together.
2. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
3. After the dough has rested, mix it with your hands to remove any lumps.
4. Taking a small amount (about 1/3 cup) of the dough, form a flat and round disc, even in thickness.
5. Brush each side of the disc with a small amount of vegetable oil and place onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
6. Place a cast iron skillet (or some sort of heavy bottom skillet) over medium-high heat and brush with a small amount of vegetable oil.
7. Once the skillet is hot, place a few arepas onto the surface, making sure not to overcrowd, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes on each side, until they are golden brown on each side and make a hollow sound when lightly tapped (turn the heat down to medium if the pan gets too hot).
8. Remove them from the heat and repeat with the remaining discs (you can store the cooked arepas, on a prepared sheet pan, in a warm oven while you cook the remaining batches).
9. For the guasacaca: Place the avocado, onion, garlic, serranos, vinegar, and lime juice into a blender and blender until smooth. Add the cilantro, salt and oil and continue to blend until smooth. Season with more salt and pepper.
10. To assemble: Open the arepas down the side to create pocket.
11. Open the pocket and fill with ½ cup of carnitas and top with a generous drizzle of guasacaca and a sprinkle of cotija. Repeat with the remaining arepas and serve.

  1. Melissa // thefauxmartha Not Specified Not Specified

    So excited you guys posted a recipe on Arepas! There’s a little place down the street from us in Chicago that serves them. We love em. Must give this a try.

  2. Nanna Not Specified Not Specified

    The fact that you just referenced Tobias Funke makes me love your blog even more!

  3. Kasey Not Specified Not Specified

    I recently took a trip to Colombia, where I sample a lot of arepas. I’m surprised they haven’t become more popular State-side because they are so delicious. So glad to see you writing about them here. Your version looks sooo good.

  4. Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen Not Specified Not Specified

    OMG. That guasaca is so delicious looking. I seriously feel like making it right now. I can’t wait to go back to NY just to eat there. Best arepas in the US.

  5. tracy Not Specified Not Specified

    never nude! omg thank you for that video. I could have used it last week!

  6. nikki Not Specified Not Specified

    oh my goodness I am drooling. will try to recreate this with whatever I have in my kitchen tonight!

  7. Sean Not Specified Not Specified

    So, what’s the difference between these and Gorditas?

    • Jenny Park Not Specified Not Specified

      Hi Sean! The two are similar, but the main difference between the two is that gorditas are made with masa harina while arepas are made with harina PAN. Yes both are cornmeal, but harina PAN is precooked cornmeal that isn’t treated with slack lime, such as masa harina, during the husking process. These couple of things create a different flavor as well as texture between the two corn cakes.

  8. Nicole Franzen Not Specified Not Specified

    Arepas are one of my favorite meals. There is a restaurant here in NYC that is divine called Caracas. I get an arepa that is stuffed with avocado, this yummy salty cheese (i forgot the name, not cojita) and fried plantains. Served with this sweet/spicy hot sauce. The best micheladas I have ever had (very different then the Mexcican version) If you girls ever come to NYC I am taking you there.

  9. Nicole Franzen Not Specified Not Specified

    PS did you borrow Matt’s arepa maker :P

  10. Monica Not Specified Not Specified

    Being from Venezuela, reading your post made me close my eyes and imagine myself back home in my family’s “arepera” eating one..

    Actually, I’m just going to head to my kitchen and whip up a batch… if you have not tried the sweet version – you should (recipe can be found on my blog). they are so good.

    Glad you enjoy them. We are very proud of our Arepas. :)

    And to Nicole – the cheese name is “queso blanco”… its a bit denser and saltier than cojita (the Mexican version).

  11. Gaby [The Vault Files] Not Specified Not Specified

    So happy to read this post today! I was born in Caracas, now moved to Toronto, Canada, 8 years ago and arepas are like bread for us Venezuelans. Glad you liked them! Have you tried the Tequenos? They are incredibly yummy ;)

  12. Heidi @foodiecrush Not Specified Not Specified

    Ughh, there is nothing worse than bad travel plans. But then you wouldn’t have had this tasty discovery so maybe it was worth it? Definitely for us it is. I’m thinking this would all be delicious over eggs, especially the Guasacaca sauce. Yum, Sunday brunch.

  13. Frances @The Foodess Files Not Specified Not Specified

    OOOOOOOOO……carnitas really can make almost anything better. I miss New York! Bad days can be cured by a toasted bagel and cream cheese anytime as far as I’m concerned. Glad you guys made it back safe. :)

  14. Mare Not Specified Not Specified

    As Venezuelan I feel really proud that you like and enjoy so much our arepas!!!. I’ve living in Spain for 8 years now and arepas is what we eat when we feel nostalgic, it’s such an important meal in our contry! As Gaby and Monica said, you should really give a try to tequeños and arepas dulces ;)

  15. Kierston Not Specified Not Specified

    Yum! We have a place in San Francisco that comes to all the street fairs and festivals and sells arepas. I have attended more festivalas and street fairs than I would care to mention so I can get my hands on these pockets of joy!

  16. Notorious MLE Not Specified Not Specified

    My husband and I ate at Caracas during a trip to NY two years ago and we’ve been thinking about that sauce ever since! My husband is Colombian so we are arepa pros but we had not idea what that sauce was made with or what it’s called. I cannot wait to try this out!

  17. Jamie Not Specified Not Specified

    Do you guys have a recipe for carnitas? Because this looks AMAZING and I want to try it!

  18. Ranu Not Specified Not Specified

    Yum! YES I love Caracas! Definitely one of my favorite NYC spots, the De La Gato is my favorite! So glad you posted this recipe and were able to try it during your NYC trip! :)

  19. Joanne Not Specified Not Specified

    Aren’t Caracas kinda like…the best things ever. I’m so glad you got to try them while you were here in NYC! I’ve yet to attempt to make them at home, but these look truly fabulous. I think it’s time…

  20. Nikki {perpetually engaged} Not Specified Not Specified

    Yum! And gluten free, does it get any better? Love your photography too!

  21. Dani Not Specified Not Specified

    These look AMAZING! I’m really excited to try and make them. Do you or anyone else know a good recipe for the carnitas? I’d prefer chicken, but would take a good beef recipe, too.

  22. Aaron from The Amused Bouche Blog Not Specified Not Specified

    Beautiful arepas! There’s a place near me that makes awesome arepas. I don’t even know the name of it; it’s a hole in the wall place in a bad neighborhood, but you can get these guys for $2 a piece. Thanks for sharing :)

  23. Carolina Not Specified Not Specified

    This has made my day! I am Venezuelan and make arepas whenever I can convince my super carb-conscious fiance that we MUST eat them! lol Where my family is from Guasacaca is a dish of diced 1/2 yellow and 1/2 green peppers, 1 white onion,2 tomatoes (with the seeds removed ) and 2 avocados. This is drizzled with a touch of oil canola oil and a couple splashes of white vinegar then tossed with some fresh chopped cilantro. I highly recommend it. Also, Mojo is TO DIE FOR. It is 1-2 bunches of cilantro (stem removed), 3 cloves garlic (peeled), 2 tsp coarse salt, 1tsp paprika, 1/4 c White Vinegar, 2 tbs Canola oil. Then blend it all until it is smooth. It is an amazingly tangy and delicious sauce perfect for ANYTHING!

  24. Beth Not Specified Not Specified

    Loved Caracas! I was just there for the first time in February when I was in town for the Westminster Dog Show! Recommended by a friend’s hip young son who has yet to steer us wrong.

  25. PINGBACK: Cinco De Mayo « akinginlove

  26. PINGBACK: Arrepas with Guasacaca « Dinner at Ten

  27. Amanda Paa Not Specified Not Specified

    Is harina PAN the same thing as masa harina?

  28. tatiana Not Specified Not Specified

    Yup, Harina PAN is the One!

    This might help!
    Store List in US:
    about Harina PAN :

    Keep Calm & Enjoy Arepas!

  29. PINGBACK: two favorite things: sangria & arepas | korazy kuisine

  30. PINGBACK: Arepa Pizza, Where Have You Been All Our Lives? : Manhattan Apartments

  31. PINGBACK: Okay, InStyle's September Issue Actually Rules : Manhattan Apartments

  32. PINGBACK: Lashes Go To Crazy New Lengths With This Mascara Primer : Manhattan Apartments

  33. PINGBACK: Jemima Kirke Brings Scosha Jewelry To Life : Manhattan Apartments

  34. MEGASABI Not Specified Not Specified

    another great avocado recipe..totally amazing looking. thanks…. i am definitely subscribing to your blog… this is a great place for recipe and mexicans love avocado so we are cooking up a storm with this one… love it… pinned it and

  35. Elaine Matthews Not Specified Not Specified

    Love , Love, Love this recipe idea. Gonna have to try this Arepas!! I love the Mexican / Latin Flare!!

    Just ran into this blog and I love it!!

  36. PINGBACK: The Best Gluten Free Sandwich EVER.

  37. PINGBACK: Grilled Cubanos + 3 Easy Dips - Two of a Kind

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *