"The sauteed prawns are the perfect combination with a warm, toasty and steamy arepa! And it has a sofrito, which is like a salsa, but better. It's a little messy but really, really good, just like I’m on a beach in Venezuela!"
- 1½ tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced or crushed
- 24-30 medium prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined (see Note)
- 1 red capsicum (pepper), chopped
- 1 jalapeño (or other hot chilli), seeded and diced
- ½ cup chopped fresh tomato
- ¼ white or red onion, finely chopped
- 3 tsp (15 ml) lime juice
- 3 tsp (15 ml) orange juice
- 1 tsp fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped, plus extra coriander leaves to garnish, optional
- lemon juice, to taste
- 6 arepas, warmed (see Note, or use Juan Pablo's recipe)
- 1 cup (240 ml) mozzarella or other cheese, grated, optional (see Note)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
1. In a medium frying pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add prawns to the pan and cook for 2 minutes on the first side. Flip and continue cooking for 2 minutes, until browned.
2. Stir in red pepper, jalapeños, tomatoes and red onion and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add lime juice and orange juice. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until liquid has reduced completely. Stir in coriander, season with salt and pepper and a little lemon juice, and remove from heat.
3. Slice arepas in half horizontally, and spoon shrimp mixture on the bottom half of the arepa.
4. Top the shrimp with mozzarella and allow it to melt for a minute or two before adding the top half of the arepa. Serve immediately.
• In The Latin Kitchen, Juan Pablo cooks the prawns with the tails on, for maximum flavour, and then removes the tails before filling the arepa, but you could remove the tails before cooking if you prefer. Depending on the size of your prawns, you might also want to cut them into chunky pieces before filling the arepa.
• Juan Pablo tops his arepa with mozzarella, but says you could use whatever cheese you have. You could also leave off the cheese, for a dairy-free version.