On LittleThings Live show Slice we challenge food experts to create delicious and easy to make dinners for less than $12. This week, we enlisted the help of the owners of food truck turned restaurant Patacon Pisao, a Venezuelan sandwich spot whose name appropriately translates to “flattened plantain.”
Patacon Pisao was founded 12 years ago by Venezuelan native, Liliana Velazquez when she began selling patacnes, which are smashed and fried plantains out of a truck stationed outside a popular Manhattan nightclub.
The truck and plantains were such a success that with the help of her son Jonathan Hernandez, she opened a storefront with her son in Queens, New York and most recently another store in the Lower East Side neighborhood in Manhattan.
Though they specialize in sandwiches, bread is almost nowhere to be seen at Patacon Pisao. Rather, most of their creations utilize flattened plantains as the restaurants name suggests.
Even though a meal for one at the restaurant itself would probably cost around $12, the Patacon Pisao team agreed to show us how to create Arepa maracucho style, a popular Venezuelan gluten free corn meal sandwich, stuffed with a simple chicken avocado salad and sweet plantains, in order to make it at home.
The shopping list is as follows:
- Pre-cooked white corn meal – $2.82
- 2 chicken breasts with skin – $3.29
- 1 Hass Avocado – $2.49
- 1 cup of mayo
- 1 Plantain – $1.40
- Total = $11.99
- 2 12 cups Luke warm water
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 2 cups Pre-cooked white corn meal such as P.A.N.
- 14 cup, or as needed Vegetable oil
- 2 Chicken breasts with skin
- 1 Hass avocado
- 1 cup Mayo
- To taste Pepper
- Mix the dough: Place the 2 cups water, 1 tablespoon oil, and salt in a medium bowl and stir until the salt dissolves. Gradually add the arepa flour, mixing continuously to avoid lumps. Mix for 1 additional minute. The dough should hold together when pressed. Add 1 tablespoon water as needed to wet the dough if it's dry.
- Rest the dough: Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and rest the dough for 10 minutes.
- Divide and shape: Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a 1/2 inch-thick disc.
- Griddle: Heat a cast iron griddle over medium-high heat or heat an electric griddle to medium. Brush lightly with oil and add the arepas. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes per side until the arepas are golden brown, charred in spots, and cooked through.
- Split: Remove the arepas to a wire cooling rack and let cool about 10 minutes. If you'd like to fill the arepas, split them in half with a serrated knife.
- Boil chicken breast with skin until cooked, let breast stand for 5 minutes or put in freezer for quick cooling.
- Shred cooked chicken breast by hand until semi-chunky.
- Mix shredded chicken with hass avocado, mayo, salt and pepper.
- Peel sweet plantains and slice.
- Fry sweet plantain slices until nice and golden.
- Stuff mixture into split arepas with one large spoon and two slices of sweet plantains.