I’m a sucker for ingredients that I didn’t grow up with. I’d often seek it out, with no intention to buy it, but just to keep a mental catalogue of the pricing at different grocery stores, then finally going for it once I see a price to justify this purchase that I have no plan for. I have many of these ingredients in my pantry. This is one of them.

This special ingredient is P.A.N. which is pre-cooked white corn meal, aka harina de maiz. So far, I’ve only found that this ingredient is ideal to make Arepas and Pupusas (aka Gorditas – did you know that this means “chubby” in Spanish?!).

For an authentic recipe of both, these have caught my eye:

Restaurant Feature: Taco El Asador

Truthfully, I haven’t had an arepa, but I’ve had a pupusa, which is made of the same cornmeal batter. Instead of sandwich-style, it’s filled with a shredded mozzarella. That fond memory is from Taco El Asador, a Salvadoran restaurant on Bloor Street West where we had a delicious tostadas, pupusa & pop daily deal for just $11.

Instagram Post Feature: September 2018 Visit

Make it to taste – or your fridge’s contents!

  • Quick to make! From batter to fry, the whole process takes a breezy 15 minutes.
  • For the filling, Google “arepa” and get ready to be inspired by the delicious contents. Avocado and cheese is very common, I’ve added ground beef and pulled pork (or carnitas). I’ve seen others add in ham or shredded chicken. For toppings, I love lettuce and pickled shallots for crunch.
  • Allow the arepa to cool after frying. Once cooled, slice in half, but not going all the way through. leave just 1cm intact on one side to allow ease in holding the sandwich in one piece.
  • Best enjoyed fresh! Although if you need to reheat, microwave for 20 seconds.
  • For the best sear, use a cast iron pan (if so, heat for only 3 minutes on each side).

Recipe: Arepa

Serves: 2
Cooking time: 20
Preparation time: 10

Rating: 5 out of 5.


1 cup White Corn Meal
1¼ cup Water
½ tsp Salt
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and knead for 2-3 minutes until no longer sticky. Form into a ball. Cover and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  2. Divide into 4 equal parts. Oil hands if needed to shape into a ball and flatten until 1cm thick.
  3. Heat a pan on medium heat with 1 tablespoon of oil. Add flattened dough, and sear for 5 minutes or until golden, or slightly black in spots. Flip and sear for another 5 minutes, or until golden.
  4. Optional – Place in oven for 5 minutes at 450F until just puffed.
  5. Allow to rest on a wire rack until just cool to handle. Slice vertically, leaving at least 1cm from the end, to allow arepa to remain intact for the filling. Fill to your desire, and enjoy immediately!