Meatless Monday with Irena Stein

| October 27, 2023

From Arepa: Classic and Contemporary Recipes for Venezuela’s Daily Bread
By Irena Stein, published by Ryland Peters & Small
Photography by Irena Stein


Arepa de huevos rancheros y mojo verde
Serves 4


1 quantity of basic arepa dough*


  • 30 g (1 oz/½ cup) chopped onion
  • 80 g (3 oz/2 cups) chopped coriander (cilantro)
  • 20 g (¾ oz/½ cup) chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 120 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) white wine vinegar
  • 6 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp pepperoncini (or other dried chili seeds)


  • 80 g (3 oz/1¼ cups) red sofrito**
  • ½ tsp pepperoncini (or other dried chilli seeds)
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 225 g (8 oz/1 cup) good-quality canned chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt


  • 4 eggs
  • grated (shredded) white cheese or braided cheese (optional)
  • 2 large red bell peppers, charred and peeled or from a jar


  1. To make the spicy green mojo, put all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth. Add more salt, if necessary. Set the mojo aside until ready to assemble the arepas.

2. To make the huevos rancheros salsa, cook the sofrito and pepperoncini in a frying pan (skillet) over a low heat for 5 minutes. Add the ground cumin and vinegar. Once the vinegar has evaporated, add the tomatoes, sugar and salt and cook over a medium heat for 30 minutes. Do not let the mixture dry out – if necessary, add a splash of water.

3. Following the instructions* shape the dough into 4 arepas and cook them just before serving.

Transfer the huevos rancheros salsa to an earthenware dish or crockpot. Crack the eggs on top then place under a grill (broiler) for 2 minutes or until the whites are cooked but the yolks are runny. Once cooked, drizzle over 2 tablespoons of the mojo.

Split open each arepa and scoop out some of their soft insides to make room for the filling. Lay strips of bell pepper on the base of each arepa, then spoon over some of the huevos rancheros salsa with a cooked egg. Finish with a spoonful of the mojo. Alternatively, served the arepas on the side and dip them into the sauce and eggs.


Receta de la arepa

Makes 6 arepas

  • 720 ml (24 fl oz/3 cups) water, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • a pinch of sugar (optional)
  • 350 g (12 oz/2½ cups) Harina P.A.N. pre-cooked white maize flour (cornmeal)


  1. In a large mixing bowl or bowl of an electric mixer, combine the water, oil, salt and sugar (if using). Slowly add the Harina P.A.N. pre-cooked maize fl our (cornmeal) and mix the dough with your hands or electric mixer on medium speed for at least 10 minutes. The dough must be worked for a full 10 minutes to prevent the arepas from cracking when cooked. Once mixed, the dough should be free of lumps and soft to the touch.

2. Wet a paper towel or clean dish towel and wring out well. Cover the dough and let it sit for 10 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 230°C (450°F/Gas 8) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

4. Oil your hands. Pull off 170 g (6 oz) of dough and form it into a ball. Flatten the ball with your hands, pressing down to form an 11-cm (4-inch) disc that is 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick. Transfer the arepas to the prepared baking sheet and cover with the damp towel. Repeat with the rest of the dough to make 6 arepas, oiling your hands before forming each disc.

5. Heat a griddle pan over a medium heat and brush the pan with oil. Working in batches, put the arepas on the pan and cook for 5 minutes on each side or until lightly golden. Return the cooked arepas to the lined baking sheet.

6. Once griddled, put all the arepas directly on the rack of the hot oven. Bake the arepas for 20 minutes, flipping them after 10 minutes. The arepas are cooked when they have puffed up a bit, are brown in spots, and sound hollow when tapped.

7. Holding a hot arepa with a clean dish towel, cut three quarters of the way through using a serrated knife. Scoop out some of the soft insides to make room for the filling, leaving the crispy top of the arepa and a little of the soft inner. Add your choice of filling and serve immediately.


  • 200 g (7 fl oz/scant 1 cup) annatto oil
  • 650 g (1 lb 7 oz/4¼ cups) diced white onion
  • 150 g (5 oz/1¼ cups) diced sweet red pepper (ají dulce)
  • 350 g (12 oz/2½ cups) diced red bell pepper
  • 100 g (3½ oz/½ cup) diced garlic


Heat the annatto oil in a heavy-based pan or double-bottomed pot. Add the white onion, sweet red pepper, red bell pepper and garlic then cook over a low-medium heat for 20–30 minutes or until the onion is translucent. It is important to cook the mixture slowly, stirring every 5 minutes with a wooden spoon.