Yesterday was Vijyadashmi (last day of Navarathri), and we had Vidyarambham or Ezhuthiniruthu. At home my son had his first writing ceremony. I made few dishes for offering. He got his first writing with his dad. Coming to Bunelos Colombianos: Colombian cheese fritters, I got the inspiration from my hubby’s colleague who had invited us for a party, and it was Colombian fare. Bunuelos was on the menu and it is delicious and easy to make.
Christmas season starts in Colombia after Day of Little Candles (Spanish:Día de las Velitas, which is on December 7, on the eve of the Immaculate Conception, and is a public holiday in Colombia. As with any other custom, there will celebration which varies from family to family but one dish must be there in their table is Bunuelos. I have also seen a YouTube video where street vendors are selling this Bunuelos in their road side stall.
For making Bunuelos you need a special kind of cheese called queso costeño which is used in Colombia. However it is not available here, so we can use either fresh cheese called Queso fresco or combo of queso fresco and feta. I used only queso fresco as it is mentioned in the box mix. My hubby bought about 1 ounce from the store as it is about 7 dollars for a pound and told me to try with it. I also got bunuelos box mix from his friend Libardo. However the recipe on the box needed about 10.oz of queso fresco cheese (2 cups of grated cheese). So I thought why I don’t try to make it at home. On searching the recipe, I came to know that Queso Fresco is the paneer made with salt. In India paneer is made without adding salt so that it can be used for both savory and sweet. So I decided to make queso fresco at home using whole milk.
Once I made the Queso fresco, my next challenge was to make bunulos or cheese fritters at home. I used box mixture. If you want you can make it from scratch using this recipe. Main ingredients are cornstarch, tapioca starch, egg, milk, queso fresco or mixture of queso fresco and feta, baking powder. First smooth dough is made with all ingredients and then fried the balls in the oil. One thing you need to keep in mind that oil should be at right temperature (302 °F/150 °C) so that the buñuelos rise to the top and swell up as it cooks in the oil. First it will sink to the bottom and then it gradually comes up in the oil. If they rise too quickly, they won’t cook all the way through — too slowly, they’ll take on too much oil and become heavy.
During the Christmas time it is served with hot chocolate or natilla (custard like dessert) and is the perfect combination of salty and sweet, buñuelos. I have seen people buying from the street vendors eating as such with cup of coffee. Trust me Colombian coffee is really good. I had tasted it at that party. It has an intoxicating aroma at its peak in every sip you drink. Next I will try to make bunuelos from scratch as well as using two cheese combo.
Indian friends, it taste like fried gulab jamun without any sugar syrup. You will also love it, so give it a try.