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Masarepa vs masa harina


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11 replies to this topic

#1 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 12:44 PM

A friend recently acquired some Masarepa by mistake (he'd asked for masa harina, but the kind friend who bought & brought it to him didn't know the difference). Now he wants to know what to do with it, and I am curious to learn more about the difference between them. I found an earlier thread here

(http://tinyurl.com/f6r2w)

which explains that Masarepa is precooked cornmeal, but it quickly moves on to a discussion of recipes without more technical details.

Masa for tortillas is made from soaked, lime-treated dried corn. Is Masarepa similarly lime-treated? And is it "precooked" as part of the traditional preparation, or is this a modern convenience? Is the whole corn roasted or boiled before drying/grinding to make the Masarepa? I presume all of these things will affect it's performance in other recipes, eg, whether it could be used to make a simple american-style cornbread or whether it would be suitable to make tamales or tortillas.

Thanks for reading this far, and for any tips/tricks and suggestions you may have!

#2 piazzola

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 04:46 AM

Don't know the term Masarepa but masa para arepas stem from masa harina which is precooked corn meal used by Colombians and Venezuelans alike both consider this arepas or little buns as their traditional staple food of the region
Yes it i s basically the same as the Mexican masa harina or maseca but the masa arepas is not treated with nixatamal or lime or cenizas so it is milder in flavour and can be just the same for all things Mexican.
I have few Mexican friends living in Venezuela who just make their own stuff with masa harina

Edited by piazzola, 22 May 2006 - 05:44 AM.


#3 lperry

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 08:12 AM

Masa harina is the traditional ingredient that is used to make dough for tortillas, sopes, tamales and the like. Masa arepa is precooked and is soaked in liquid (usually water, but you can use milk or stock for a richer flavor) to make a dough that is then pan cooked or deep fried into little disk shaped breads. These breads, arepas, are common in Colombia and Venezuela and are stuffed with any manner of things like cheese or meat. There should be pretty detailed instructions for proportions of flour and liquid on the bag. I made some the other day for breakfast and filled them with scrambled eggs, cheese, and butter.

#4 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 10:30 AM

Thanks for the info.

That's what I suspected--cooked but without lime, so it wouldn't have that typical tortilla flavor.

#5 piazzola

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 03:49 PM

Thanks for the info.

That's what I suspected--cooked but without lime, so it wouldn't have that typical tortilla flavor.

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Both flours are made from corn :biggrin:
If you refer to the limey flavour then they are different bearing in mind few people O know are allergic to ash or lime flavours.

#6 rancho_gordo

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 03:57 PM

I think you know this, but just to be clear, the line refers to CaL, which the corn is soaked in to loosen the skin. The skin is removed and then the corn is rinsed. The lime is only residual and it's not a nice flavor if there's too much left on, although I've been told it works like a preservative to some degree. That's why when you see "organic" 100%white corn tortillas at Trader joes and they're a lurid yellow, it's because they leave too much CaL on to preserve it. Otherwise they would go bad unrefirdgerated.

So is this masarepa just cornmeal?
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#7 lperry

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 04:22 PM

So is this masarepa just cornmeal?

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Not exactly. It's been pre-cooked so you just add liquid, and then you don't have to worry about cooking the arepas all the way through like you would a masa product. The texture is different as well - dense and a little grainy, and they crisp up really nicely in the pan. The flavor is very much like grits and I've done all sorts of things with them. Egg and chipotle, cheese and salsa, tiny ones (arepitas) for dipping into different salsas at parties.... Not terribly traditional, but really good. Now I need more masarepa. :smile:

#8 cliveb

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 06:42 PM

This post may be a little late, but I feel it's important to give some first-hand information on "Arepa" flour, directly from it's source - Venezuela!

The pre-cooked corn flour used to make arepas here is called " Harina PAN", after it's brand name. Even if you buy another brand, you ask for Harina PAN!
Arepas are simple to make - just add water to the flour. When you have a thickish dough, you form it into a ball then flatten it a little, until you have a thick "flying saucer" shape.
Grease a hot plate ( called a "budare" here) and slap the arepa on it. After a few minutes it will brown on one side. Turn it over and brown on the other side. If you're making a large quantity, you can pop the cooked arepas in a warm oven until all are ready.
Of course, if you make them a little smaller, you can also deep-fry them.
Traditionally, the arepa is split almost in half then stuffed with:
Ham and white cheese
Fresh farmer's cheese
"Carne Mechada" ( spiced pulled skirt of beef)
"Reina Pepiada" (Grilled, spiced chicken with slices of avocado)
"Dominó" ( black beans and grated white cheese)
Baby shark, cooked together with "sofrito" - onion, bell pepper, sweet chile, celery, garlic, annato.

Harina PAN is not the same as Masa Harina. As someone pointed out, the use of slaked lime to remove the corn husks makes a huge difference in flavour.
If you can find Harina PAN, it's worth acquiring some and then cooking the arepas and inventing new fillings.

#9 cliveb

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 06:43 PM

This post may be a little late, but I feel it's important to give some first-hand information on "Arepa" flour, directly from it's source - Venezuela!

The pre-cooked corn flour used to make arepas here is called " Harina PAN", after it's brand name. Even if you buy another brand, you ask for Harina PAN!
Arepas are simple to make - just add water to the flour. When you have a thickish dough, you form it into a ball then flatten it a little, until you have a thick "flying saucer" shape.
Grease a hot plate ( called a "budare" here) and slap the arepa on it. After a few minutes it will brown on one side. Turn it over and brown on the other side. If you're making a large quantity, you can pop the cooked arepas in a warm oven until all are ready.
Of course, if you make them a little smaller, you can also deep-fry them.
Traditionally, the arepa is split almost in half then stuffed with:
Ham and white cheese
Fresh farmer's cheese
"Carne Mechada" ( spiced pulled skirt of beef)
"Reina Pepiada" (Grilled, spiced chicken with slices of avocado)
"Dominó" ( black beans and grated white cheese)
Baby shark, cooked together with "sofrito" - onion, bell pepper, sweet chile, celery, garlic, annato.

Harina PAN is not the same as Masa Harina. As someone pointed out, the use of slaked lime to remove the corn husks makes a huge difference in flavour.
If you can find Harina PAN, it's worth acquiring some and then cooking the arepas and inventing new fillings.

#10 yaslh

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 06:16 PM

Cliveb, you're very accurate about your comments about Masarepa and MasaHarina. Very different in deed. This is a late follow up, I know, but I just thought I would share with you a small article about arepas that we recently posted in our food blog. I though those interested in knowing more about arepas would enjoy. Here's a link to the article:

http://papayapate.bl.../10/arepas.html

Edited by yaslh, 04 November 2006 - 06:17 PM.


#11 RedNeckFoodie

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 12:09 PM

I'm obviously coming very late to this thread, but yaslh, your blog is by invite only now. I was interested in reading the article if it's still up. Can I get an invite? Thank you.

#12 rancho_gordo

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 02:13 PM

Re-reading this thread, a little wiser, but to be pedantic, masa harina is also pre-ccoked. The differences would be the grind and the nixtamalization of masa harina.
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