TJ's version uses more sweet corn than masarepa. Both off-the-cobb and frozen sweet corns can produce the same fresh corn flavor. Frozen sweet corns are boiled and flash frozen as soon as they were picked, which deactivates the enzymes and retains the sweet flavor. The sweet arepas are made from blending sweet corn with water into a puree, and then hydrating masarepa with the puree. Because the sugar-to-starch enzyme action hadn't happened in a good portion of its ground corn, additional starch is added to boost the binding strength. Trader Joe's uses tapioca starch because it freezes better and retains texture after thawing. For fresh patties, of course the more ubiquitous, good old corn starch will work as a substitute. I mean, it is a corn dish after all. Just substitute in 2 part tapioca to 1 part corn starch ratio, since corn starch is a much stronger thickener.
Masarepa has no real substitute. It is precooked corn, which allows these patties to cook up very quickly like pancakes. Raw corn flours will not have the same effect, even the 'instant' varieties won't be the same. They're not terribly hard to find in the Mexican food aisles of the grocery. If your local grocery doesn't carry them, amazon has them for a reasonable price. As the cornmeal is precooked, the sweet corn needs to be precooked too so everything cooks up at the same speed. Frozen sweet corns are already boiled; if using fresh corn off the cob, be sure to steam/boil/microwave first to cook them thoroughly before blending.Ingredients:
- 200g water
- 150g frozen sweet corn
- 120g masarepa (precooked cornmeal)
- 10g (1tbsp) tapioca starch
- 8~15g (1/2~1tbsp) sugar, depending on sweetness of corn
- 2g (1/4 tsp) salt
- 100g (3x1oz slices) low moisture mozzarella cheese
- Whisk together the dry ingredients: masarepa, tapioca starch, sugar, & salt.
- Blend sweet corn with water until smooth.
- Mix the wet mixture and the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined.
- Let the mixture rest for ~3 minutes, or until thickened.
- Divide the dough into 6 portions.
- Shape each portion into a patty with a burger press or wide jar lid.
- Brush both sides of the patties with oil. Fry until lightly browned on both sides.
- Add 1oz cheese between 2 patties and cook until cheese begins to melt.
- Remove from heat as soon as cheese begins to melt. The residual heat from the fresh cooked patties will heat up the cheese further. So pull the sandwich off the stove a little earlier than you normally would with frozen arepas.
- Enjoy! Freeze the leftovers for another quick snack. Feel free to double the recipe for meal prep!