My husband has been requesting Arepas for about a month now. I associate Arepas with those dried out, corn pockets you get at NYC street fairs, which to me are less than appetizing. I have always been more of a fan of flour-based tortillas than corn based - I feel like the corn based tortillas are always so dry, whereas the flour tortillas are more pliable and soft (insert thoughts of a Chipotle Burrito here *yum*).
So when asked to make arepas, I decided to go a slightly different route with them and not only grill them on a griddle, but then deep fry them in hopes to impart some moisture and goodness into them. Well, these came out great - They have the flavor of hard taco shells with the crispiness and pliability of the ultimate taco delivery device. It’s as if a hard taco shell and a soft taco shell made a taco shell baby.
The filling of pulled chicken was so easy to make - I poached the chicken to cook it through, shred it and then added it to a great tomato based sauce loaded with Poblano and Jalapeno Peppers! You can top these bad boys with your favorite taco toppings (cheese, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, etc).
- 3 Boneless Chicken Breast
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 1/2 small dice Onion
- 1 minced Poblano Pepper (Roasted, seeds and stems removed)
- 1 minced Jalapeno (seeds and stems removed)
- 1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
- 2 minced Garlic Cloves
- 1 Teaspoon Paprika
- 2 Cups Tomato Puree
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 Cup small dice Tomato
- In pot add 5 cups of water, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 2 garlic cloves. Bring to a boil. Add in your chicken breasts - turn down the heat and simmer 30-35 minutes. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon, and shred with two forks.
- Meanwhile make your sauce. In a large saute pan, heat up 1 teaspoon of canola oil. Once hot, add in your cumin seeds and cook about 2 minutes. Now add in your onion and jalapeño and cook another 8 minutes.
- At this point, add in your garlic, poblano, and paprika - cook 2 minutes. Add your tomato puree, water and black pepper and cook over a medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add in the diced tomato and cook another 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt.
- Add your shredded chicken into the saute pan with the sauce. mix together until all chicken is coated in the sauce - cook about 3 minutes. Serve hot with Gordita Shells (recipe below), cheese, sour cream, tomato and sliced Scallion.
Masa Gordita Pockets
- 3 1/2 Cups Masa Harina
- 18 oz Water
- 2/3 Cup Flour
- 2 tsps Baking Powder
- 1 1/2 tsps Salt
- Combine all your ingredients in a bowl and kneed with your hands until fully incorporated.
- Heat up a flat top griddle and also heat up a large pot of oil to 350 degrees. Make it so the griddle is right next to the pot of oil for easy maneuvering.
- Divide your dough into 20 equal pieces and roll each into a ball - cover with a towel to prevent the masa from drying out. Using either a tortilla press or your hands - press down each ball to create a thin 5" round tortilla. In batches add your tortillas to the griddle and cook over a high heat for about 1 minuter per side. Immediately then drop the tortillas into the deep fryer and spoon oil on top of the tortillas to help them puff up. Fry for about 1-2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a resting rack to allow draining. Repeat with all the tortillas. Serve hot.