Buñuelos colombianos is a Colombian cheese fritters a traditional Christmas treat, and also popular year round as breakfast with hot chocolate or coffee
Bunelos Colombianos: Colombian cheese fritters is made with fresh cheese, bunelos colombianos mix and egg and fried in oil. 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 colombianos: Colombian Cheese Fritters 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 (Bunuelos colombianos: Colombian Cheese Fritters). I have seen people buying from the street vendors eating as such with cup of coffee. Trust me Bunuelos colombianos: Colombian Cheese Fritters with 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.
Other cheese fritters
Bunuelos colombianos: Colombian Cheese Fritters
- 2 quarts/8 cups Whole milk
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoon distilled vinegar
- 300 g/10.57 oz of Bunuelos box mix
- 2 cups /10.57oz grated cheese Queso Fresco
- 1 egg
- ½ cup milk or more as needed
- 4 cups of Peanut oil Peanut oil is best for frying, you can use any other oil of choice
- Heat the milk 2 quarts/8cups of the whole milk. And add 1 tablespoon of coarse kosher salt.
- When the milks starts boil, turn the heat to low, and add 3 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar.
- Stir. Almost immediately, the milk will separate into curds and whey. If not, add one more tablespoon of vinegar. Continue to stir gently to encourage whey extraction and curd formation.
- Drain into a cheesecloth-lined colander in the sink.
- Let sit for 5-10 minutes, until the cheese is cool enough to handle. Form the curds into a ball or disc while squeezing excess whey through the cheesecloth. At this point the cheese is ready to eat, but if you prefer a drier, firmer cheese, you can set it on a plate or a sheet pan with a plate on top of it. Use some kind of weight — cans, pots and pans, or books — to press it down for 15 more minutes or up 2 hours.
- In bowl add everything and gradually add milk to form smooth dough.
- Knead well.
- Pinch out a small portion of dough to form small balls around 42. Actual size of Bunuelos is bigger if you make authentic bunuelos then you will be able to get 21.
- Heat oil in deep bottom pan or use your deep fryer oil temperature must be 302F/ 150C then gradually add kneaded cheese balls/ bunuelos.
- At first it sinks to the bottom, as soon as cooked it comes to top. When it becomes golden brown color take it out and drain the excess oil using a kitchen towel.
- Enjoy with a cup of coffee.
This is Swathi ( Dr. Ambujom Saraswathy Ph.D) from Zesty South Indian Kitchen who loves to explore cuisines from all over the world. Whenever possible I try to to give an Indian touch to several of the world cuisine, and has weakness for freshly baked bread. All the recipes you see here are created by me and approved after taste-test by my family.