The secret to getting Paleo arepas that are crispy on the outside and breadlike on the inside (rather than chewy) is to use mashed potato or mashed yuca in the dough. The result is incredible texture-wise and it’s hard to believe you are eating grain-free bread! It is well worth the extra step to include the mashed tuber. Potato gives the softest texture, but is a nightshade, so if you are avoiding them, use yuca instead.
- Yield: 4 Arepas
- 1 cup (128 g) arrowroot starch
- ½ cup (56 g) sifted coconut flour
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp fine Himalayan salt
- 2 tbsp (28 g) palm shortening or lard
- 2 tbsp (30 g) canned pure pumpkin puree, or 1 large egg, beaten
- ½ cup (113 g) boiled and mashed potatoes or yuca (from 4 to 5 oz [115 to 140 g] peeled root, boiled for 20 minutes)
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups (460 g) hot carne mechada or chilled
- In a mixing bowl, combine the arrowroot starch, coconut flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Use a fork to cut the shortening into the flour mixture. Add the pumpkin puree (or egg), mashed potatoes and ½ cup (120 ml) of water. Use your hands to work into a dough.
- Divide the dough into 4 portions. Roll each into a ball and then flatten into a disk 4 to 5 inches (10 to 12.5 cm) in diameter and about ½ inch (1.3 cm) thick in the middle. Leave the disks somewhat convex so that the edges taper down to ¼ inch (6 mm) thick.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Fry the arepas for 2 to 3 minutes per side until lightly browned, but not too much. Place on a baking sheet and brush with a little extra oil.
- Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Let rest for about 5 minutes before slicing open. Cut about two-thirds of the way through each arepa. Stuff with about ½ cup (115 g) of carne mechada or reina pepiada.