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Arepas, a type of griddle cake made from cornmeal, are a classic street food popular across Latin America. Once cooked, you simply split them open like a pitta and fill them with whatever you fancy – here we've suggested the classic combination of cheese and ham. These delicious snacks are very simple to make, but the key to their success is the flour: masarepa is available in Latin American food shops (try Elephant and Castle or Seven Sisters if you live in London).

  • Prep: 30 minutes
  • Cook: 30 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour
  • Recipe serves: 15-20

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of cornmeal (masarepa)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 150g mozzarella
  • 100g sliced ham

Instructions

  1. Mix the cornmeal and salt together, then gradually add 300ml (1/2 a pint) of water to create a dough. Set aside for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Divide the mixture into small, evenly sized balls. There should be enough dough for around 15-20. Flatten each into circles of around 1cm in thickness.
  3. Heat a small amount of oil in a broad frying pan over a medium heat. Place the first batch of flattened dough balls in the frying pan (as many as will comfortably fit) and cook them for around five minutes on each side until lightly browned.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before splitting each arepa open with a fork. Fill with cheese and ham and return to the heat until the cheese has melted.
  5. Repeat process until all the arepas are cooked, and serve warm.

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