Arepas Reina Pepiada

In translation, “the chubby queen.” Reina Susana might have been the namesake for this sandwich, a fluffy arepa shell stuffed with avocado chicken salad, but god damn, if it doesn’t ring true. Hell, the chubby queen? Might have well just saved some time and called it “El Foodetta.”

Keepitcoming described these as having a mixture of seductive textures. She’s right. For street food, this is awfully complex and even a little sexy, like the voluptuous queen herself. The outer layer is crisp and buttery, with an inner fluffiness from the cornmeal, and then the filling hits the senses. It’s chicken salad, but more buttery, thicker, sticker, from the avocado. It’s spicy. It’s meaty. It’s cold and chewy and utterly delicious.
You will fall in love.

The best part about these Venezuelan vamps is that they take ten minutes to make. Less if you have your fillings handy. And they’re so versatile and taste so fresh. Try them out- the fillings can be swapped out for anything. We recommend the sexy- caviar and avocado. Grilled shrimp and brie. Cream cheese and smoked salmon. These might nudge out sesame chicken for our Valentine’s Day menu.

Ingredients (makes ten four inch buns)
2 cups of harina- pre-cooked white cornmeal. We used the Goya one and it worked fine, though everyone on T3H INTARNETZ swears by Harina P.A.N. Pro-tip: any kind works.
3 cups of lukewarm water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika
Butter for the griddle.

1. Mix all the ingredients, except for the butter, together. Let them sit for five minutes.
2. Prepare a griddle pan with butter- roughly a teaspoon for every four cakes.
3. Make small cakes, roughly four inches in diameter, and a quarter inch thick. Smooth out any cracks and make sure they are of an even width.
4. Fry the cakes until they are golden brown on both sides and puffy. Split them with a fork and spread with a filling of your choice.Arepas Reina Pepiada Filling
Ingredients (serves four, makes enough to fill ten buns)
2 pounds of chicken tenders or skinless chicken breasts
2 avocados, ripe
4 tablespoons of mayonnaise- we used chipotle mayonnaise and it gave it a nice kick and a lot of extra flavor
Seasonings to taste- salt, pepper, smoky paprika, red pepper flakes

1. Set a pot of water on the stove. When the water starts to boil, place your chicken breasts in and let them cook, stirring occasionally.
2. While those are cooking, mash your remaining ingredients in a bowl. When the chicken is done, a process that shouldn’t take longer than a few minutes if they are thin chicken breasts, take them out of the water. When they are cool, shred them into small pieces and put them in the bowl. Mix thoroughly until combined and mushy. Spread on arepas.

God damn, these are tasty. And surprisingly, not too bad for you. They use about a quarter of the mayonnaise you would use in a regular chicken salad and are also gluten-free.

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