ColombiaOne.comCultureColombian Buñuelos (Cheese Fritters) a Beloved Holiday Treat

Colombian Buñuelos (Cheese Fritters) a Beloved Holiday Treat

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Colombian buñuelo
Colombian Buñuelos, Cheese Fritters. Credit: John Alexis Guerra Gomez/CC BY-SA 2.0

Colombia is a country rich in culture and tradition, offers a unique culinary experience, particularly during the festive season. One of the country’s most beloved holiday treats is the Colombian buñuelo, a type of cheese fritter that embodies a blend of textures and flavors. These fritters, characterized by their soft crumb and crispy crust with a hint of sweetness, are a staple during Christmas celebrations in Colombia.

Colombian Christmas Traditions

The Christmas season in Colombia begins on December 7th with the celebration of Dia de las Velitas (Day of the lttle Candles). This tradition involves placing hundreds of candles at the doors of homes and throughout neighborhoods to guide the Virgin Mary. It’s a time for friends and families to come together, sing Christmas carols, and enjoy festive treats, including the iconic Colombian buñuelos.

The Making of Colombian Buñuelos

Colombian buñuelos are distinct from other South American variations. They are made with a mixture of cassava flour and cornstarch, with the ratio varying from household to household. Cassava, also known as tapioca or yuca, is a widely used root in South America, providing a gluten-free option for many dishes. The traditional cheese used in these fritters is Queso costeño (Costeño cheese), a semi-hard and salty cheese, although mozzarella and a combination of feta and queso fresco can also be used.

Cooking Techniques and Serving

The preparation of buñuelos requires careful attention, especially when mixing the ingredients and frying. The oil temperature is crucial to avoid the fritters from absorbing too much oil or popping open. Typically, buñuelos are served with Colombian Natilla, a custard-like dessert, creating a delightful combination of crispy, chewy, and creamy textures.

Colombian buñuelos recipe

Ingredients:

Canola or vegetable oil for frying
1 + ¾ cup cornstarch
¼ cup of cassava flour
1 cup grated costeño or feta cheese
1 cup fresh cheese
1 egg
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons of sugar
a pinch of salt
5 tablespoons of milk or more if necessary

Instructions:

  • Place all the ingredients except the oil in a medium bowl and mix well with your hands until you get a smooth dough and form balls.
  • In a very deep pot, heat vegetable oil to 300°F. Carefully place the balls in the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Remove from oil and drain on a plate covered with paper towels. Serve.

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