These Venezuelan Tequeños are easy to make and so delicious! They're sticks of white cheese wrapped with a homemade crunchy and slightly sweet dough and then fried to golden perfection. One won't be enough!
1block (12 oz / 350 g) semi-hard white cheese for frying (I used Tropical queso de freir - see note)
Vegetable, corn or canola oil for frying
Spicy Pink Sauce (optional)
1cupmayonnaise(I used eggless mayo)
1tablespoonbrandy or rum
1/2teaspooncayenne pepperor more for spicy lovers
Make the Tequeño Dough:
Place the flour, salt, and baking powder into the bowl of a stand mixer with the hook attachment. Mix to combine.
Add water, vegetable oil, milk, and brown sugar and mix the dough for 5 - 7 minutes over medium speed, or until the dough is smooth and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Form the dough into a disc, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, unwrap dough and place on a lightly floured surface. Knead with your hands until the dough is very smooth and elastic, about 2 -3 minutes. If the dough feels too sticky, add more flour ( about 1 tablespoon) over the surface, if necessary.
Form the Tequeños:
Roll the dough out into a 12 x 15-inch rectangle, 1/8-inch thick. Using a knife, or a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 1 inch wide strips lengthwise, so that you end up with 12 strips.
Cut the cheese block into 6 equal pieces, and then cut each piece in half lengthwise; you end up with 12 cheese sticks.
NOTE: You can form the tequeños as big or small as you like; just cut the cheese accordingly to your preference.
Take one strip of dough and cover one of the ends of one cheese stick with dough. Continue to wrap dough around the stick in a spiral fashion, overlapping the edges, until you reach the other end. Cover the other end with dough and pinch edges close to seal fully. The cheese has to be completely covered with dough. Repeat with remaining cheese sticks.
Fry the Tequeños
Add about 2-inches of oil to a skillet. Heat oil to 350°F over medium heat. When the oil is hot, cook the tequeños in batches, 2 -3 at the time, turning them with until all sides are golden brown. Remove tequeños to a plate lined with paper towels. Let cool for 1 minute, and serve immediately with guasacasa, cilantro mojo, garlic sauce, and/or spicy pink sauce.
Spicy Pink Sauce:
Mix all the ingredients with a fork or wire whisk until smooth and creamy. If you like a sauce with more bite, add more cayenne pepper. This sauce will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.
STORE: Refrigerate any leftovers and then reheat it in a 350°F oven until it’s warmed through.FREEZER: Freeze before frying and fry straight from frozen when ready to enjoy.CHEESE: Unfortunately, not all white cheeses will work well for this recipe. You have to use a semi-hard queso blanco that softens while frying but still holds its shape. After all my testing, I found one that works great. It's called Tropical queso de freir, and I buy it at Walmart. If you can not find that specific brand, try to use a semi-hard white cheese that is for frying (para freir).Also, check out these videos on how I do make tequeños.GUASACACA RECIPECILANTRO MOJO RECIPEQUICK TIPS:
If you're making a large batch of Tequeños, you can keep them warm until ready to serve. Turn your oven on to 250°F and place the Tequeños, covered in foil to keep warm.
Make sure you fully cover your cheese with the dough, so the cheese doesn't leak out. No one wants a cheese explosion.
If you'd prefer your dough to be sweeter, you can add extra sugar to it.
Maintaining the temperature of the cooking oil at a steady 350 ºF throughout the frying process is important. I highly recommend using a frying thermometer. If the oil gets too hot at any point, remove it from heat until the temperature has lowered. Otherwise, the tequeños won't cook properly.
If you do not have a stand mixer, you can do the process of kneading by hand.