What better way to start the day then with, as my editor would say a “fat knacker breakfast”. This simple dish is a staple of Los Costeños, those Colombians lucky to live in Cartagena and along the Caribbean coast. Fortunately you can buy the ingredients at any Latin American shop in London.
Follow the instructions on the packet to make a dough from Maiz Amarillo (yellow corn flour. Knead well and flatten until ½ cm thick and cut using an upturned bowl or pastry cutter to create round even disks around 6” in diameter.
Heat the vegetable oil until hot, place the corn bread in the oil. Cook for around 10 minutes or until the corn bread rises to the top. When you take it out you will find it has a air pocket inside. Make a 3” incision and gently prise apart the inside, add two raw eggs, and place back in the oil. Cook for a further 10 minutes, gently pricking the corn bread to ensure the eggs are evenly cooked inside. Once the corn bread has a light golden colour, lift out allow to drain and serve with café con leche.
The late Eva Motta de Camacho, who taught me many of my Latin American dishes, was a real purist when it came to making arepas. She would be up at five in the morning to boil the sweet corn, before scraping of the kernels and hand mincing to make the dough.
A big thank you to Isabel Carriazo who showed me how to make this and few other dishes from Cartagena and, had the extreme patience to listen to my interminable questions. Gracias.