This is everyone’s favorite arepa and even Venezuelans get overwhelmed at the thought of preparing it but honestly, it is such a quick recipe.
All you need is to buy roasted chicken from the store, shred it and mix in avocado and a few other ingredients to make a delicious chicken salad. I like to pair it with cheddar cheese but you don’t have to.
I added jalapeño to the recipe but the original reina pepiada does not have jalapeño, in fact, we seldom have spicy food in Venezuelan cuisine, but it adds a nice kick.
Serves: 4 people
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- The Chicken Salad
- 1 whole rotisserie chicken (I would get plain or lemon pepper flavored)
- 2 Hass avocados, ripe
- 2 limes (juiced)
- 1 small jalapeño minced
- 1 stalk cilantro, minced
- 1/2 tbsp light mayonnaise (optional, I don’t use it always)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- The Arepas
- 2 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 2 cups Harina P.A.N.
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 packet sliced cheddar cheese (optional)
- Shred the store-bought rotisserie chicken, making sure no bones are left in the mix. Place in a medium bowl.
- Peel the avocados and remove the pit. Add the avocados to the shredded chicken and with a wooden spoon, mash and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste, keep mixing. Add the lime juice last.
- If you wish, add mayonnaise. I find that I like the taste of the mix without it but it is up to you.
- Chop finely the jalapeño, do not use any seeds. Chop finely the cilantro. Add both to the chicken, keep mixing.
- Taste for salt, add more if needed. Cover the bowl with plastic wrapper and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until ready to serve, but you should serve within half a day.
- In a medium bowl, add the water, then the salt.
- Slowly mix in the harina P.A.N. flour. I like to begin mixing with a wooden spoon, then once the spoon can no longer help, then I begin kneading with my hands.
- Knead for 2 to 3 minutes. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 10 to 20 minutes.
- Separate the dough into equal sized balls. Place on a platter.
- Heat a comal (or a non-stick skillet, or a budare) over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 1/2 tsp butter. Grab a ball of dough, flatten into the arepa shape. I like to keep a bowl of water by my side to ensure that the arepa I am making doesn’t have any cracks.
- Cook the arepas on each side for 6 minutes until charred. Once they have all been charred on both sides, place in the oven in broil for 5 extra minutes.
- Place the arepas in an arepera (a basket lined with a kitchen towel, similar to where you would keep tortillas).
- Each person should open their own arepa in half, as shown in the picture, and stuff with the chicken salad, and cheddar cheese.