Sweet Corn Arepas | The Fauxmartha

It’s been 1.5 months since we moved to the Twin Cities, and I feel like we’ve been here forever. I had a hunch during my short stint on the east coast that I might be a midwest girl at heart. It’s confirmed. This part of the country feels like home. Though if you asked me in high school where I belonged, it was NYC which was confirmed on a trip with my mom and best friend during my senior year. I wore all black because that’s what Jennifer Aniston was wearing on Friends. The only black shoes I owned outside of my soccer cleats were clogs, so I wore those too and came back with a sprained big toe needing a cortisone shot from walking so much. I should have known then we weren’t the best match. But there’s one big thing I’ve been madly missing from the east coast—food truck arepas. 

IMG_3205_Sweet Corn Arepas | The Fauxmartha

Universal truth #013: Some of the best food is served from the window of a truck. I didn’t know food trucks existed when we lived in Chicago (outside of ice cream trucks and the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile that graced 94 every now and again). Though, I met my first arepa in Chicago. Moving to New Haven taught me about food trucks. They lined the streets outside the hospital where Kev worked. At the time, I had just started working for myself, so I’d walk to meet Kev for lunch because I could. I think we found the arepa truck during his first week. They served huge portions that we could easily split. With a $5 price tag for two people, we couldn’t afford not to eat it.

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I tried to make them at home, but failed again and again until I realized these weren’t traditional arepas made with masa and water to be split down the middle and filled with something like this. These guys were bright yellow and sweet, almost cake-like.

Sweet Corn Arepas | The Fauxmartha

I never had the nerve to ask the food truck guys how they made their arepas. But Kev did. Corn, cornmeal, milk, butter, sugar, mozzarella, they told him. A couple iterations later, and I think it’s pretty close. We oogled over this last batch and ate two instead of one. I think they are safe to share. The flavor combination is much like Chef Paco, chef of my favorite Mexican restaurants in Chicago, always exclaimed when talking about his dishes—It’s ah spicy, sweet, and sour! The (non-traditional) arepa is sweet. The shredded chipotle chicken (feel free to sub chipotle cooked beans) is spicy. And the avocado sauce is sour (mildly). This must be what harmony tastes like.

Sweet Corn Arepas | The Fauxmartha

Sweet Corn Arepas with Avocado Sauce
Serves: 8 arepas
 
Trade your next taco bar for an arepa bar! Though, this is not your traditional arepa made with masa and water. It's far sweeter and cake-like. It might be one of the best surprises to the palette when paired with spicy and sour toppings. You have to give it a try. About the avocado sauce—I've scoured the web for a pourable, sans creamy, avocado sauce. I always come up a little disappointed, so I've made my own. It's a good cross between a sauce and a dressing, thinned with water and oil.
Ingredients
  • Arepa
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. fresh corn, roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 c. cornmeal, finely ground
  • 1/2 c. masa
  • 1/4 c. pure cane sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 c. mozzarella, shredded
  • Avocado Sauce
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/4 c. onion
  • 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
Instructions
  1. Make the arepas. In a small saucepan, combine milk, corn, and butter. Heat on medium until warmed throughout and butter is melted. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a bowl, stir together cornmeal, masa, sugar, and salt. Once milk mixture has cooled, pour over cornmeal mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in mozzarella. Allow to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make avocado sauce. In a food processor, combine all ingredients. Process until smooth, about 1 minute. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
  4. Cook arepas. Once arepa batter has rested, remove from fridge. Using a 2 oz. spring release scoop, divide batter evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Press out into the shape of a patty, about 1/2" thick. Heat a non-stick skillet to medium-high heat. Cook arepa for about 2 minutes a side, adjusting the heat as necessary. These can be made ahead and warmed in the oven before serving.
  5. Serve. Top arepas as you wish, keeping the spicy, sweet, and sour flavor profile in mind. We love shredded chipotle chicken, sautéed peppers and onions, black beans, white cheese, and avocado sauce. When we have extra time, diced fried plantains take it to a whole new level. Vegetarian? Cook your black beans with finely chopped chipotles in adobo for the same effect.

Update: While working on this recipe, I had the hardest time finding something similar, so I created my own. I got an email from Carmen, who is Venezuelan, solving my recipe search conundrum! She said these are actually cachapa’s, not traditional arepas.
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