alex thomopoulos

Blackened Fish Arepas with Mango Herb “Crack” Sauce

UMMMM, Hi! If you don’t know what an arepa is, it’s a magical little masa based cake of deliciousness.  Think of an unfried sopapilla. It’s crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside and makes for a wonderful alternative to sandwich bread.

 Image result for arepas

It is made with a specific type of masa dough. It’s called masarepa, which is a pre-cooked masa flour. Here is a link on how to order it. You can also find this type of masa in any international market.

P.A.N Harina Blanca - Pre-cooked White Corn Meal 2lbs 3.3oz I used this brand, but you can use any masarepa flour you can get your hands on.

The first time I ever had an arepa was at Caracas Arepa Bar in NYC. It was honestly one of the most delicious things I ever had. Not only were the ingredients inside these arepas delicious, but the sauce they had sitting on each table is what sent these little bad boys over the edge. I scowered the internet and found a few recipes that mimic the sauce and created a version that fit my taste the best.

YOU GUYS! This sauce is SO good! I call it “crack sauce” because you literally can’t stop eating it. It not only is a great topper to the blackened fish, but you can put it on just about anything. Chicken, steak, veggies, tofu, I even use it sometimes as a salad dressing, or a dip for crudite! It’s super bright, tangy and has a hint of sweetness from the fruit. I promise this will be a new favorite of yours.

Arepas, like tacos are simply a blank canvas for whatever you are craving. You can stuff these with just about anything your heart desires. Get crazy with them. Make a breakfast arepa, with scrambled eggs and bacon, whatever you want girl! Get it!


This recipe is near and dear to my heart because I think it combines a variety of flavor and texture and excites every part of your tastebuds. I worked really hard on getting the perfect flavor profiles and I am so excited to share this with you!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

xx Alex

Print Recipe


(makes 8 arepas)

  • 1 pound white fish of your choice. .
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

    Mango Herb sauce: (based on the famous sauce from CARACAS in NYC)

  • 1 large mango, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1 cup oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

    Citrus Slaw

  • ½ head of red cabbage, finely shredded
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice and zest of 1 lime

    For the arepas:

  • 2 cups arepa flour (also known as masa repa, you can find this in your local international market or online)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  1. Combine arepa flour and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center and add 2½ cups warm water. Using a wooden spoon, gradually incorporate dry ingredients, stirring until no dry lumps remain. Let rest 5 minutes to hydrate.
  2. Knead dough a few times in bowl, then divide into 8 pieces. Roll each piece on work surface into a ball, then gently flatten to about ½” thick.
  3. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 4 arepas, cover, and cook until golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Uncover, flip, and cook (keep uncovered) until other side is golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Transfer arepas to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil and dough.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper and paprika. Sprinkle the spice mixture on top of the fish evenly.
  5. Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot add the seasoned fish and cook for 3 minutes per side, just until the fish cooks through. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  6. In a blender add mango, bell pepper, garlic, apple cider vinegar, cilantro, salt and pepper. Blend until a smooth paste, while the blender is still running slowly pour the oil in. Blend until a thick paste and set aside.
  7. For the slaw add the cabbage, lime, salt, pepper and oil into a medium bowl and mix well. Set aside.
  8. To assemble: Slice open each arepa, put some citrus slaw on the bottom, top with the blacked fish and spoon over some of that delicious sauce! Put the top of the arepa on and dig in!

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