Latin cuisine features 11 different kinds of cheeses, many blending European and American influences in a way that's uniquely Hispanic. Add a little guava dipping sauce to some good cheese and you've got a Latin gem.
We love to make this recipe for savory fried cheese balls—bolitas de queso—when we're throwing a party. The tangy sweetness of the guava pairs nicely with the savory cheese. It's the perfect party fritter, appetizer or finger food. The cheeses—Gouda or Edam work best—may hail from other regions, but the end result is quintessentially Latin American.
- For the Cheese Balls:
- 1/2 pound Gouda or Edam cheese (shredded)
- 1 egg white from a large egg
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Extra flour for dredging
- 4 inches vegetable oil for frying
- For the Guava Dipping Sauce:
- 4 ounces guava paste
- 8 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
Prepare the Dough
Place the shredded cheese, flour, and egg white into a mixing bowl.
Knead the ingredients together by hand to form a firm dough.
Place the dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This will firm it so the balls hold together when you form them.
Prepare the Guava Dipping Sauce
Combine the guava paste, vinegar and water in a saucepan over medium heat.
Use a whisk to smooth out the paste into a creamy sauce. This will take a few minutes. Keep whisking or it will burn.
Remove the sauce from the heat and allow it to cool.
Fry the Dough
Break off chunks of the cheese dough and use the palms of your hands to form them into balls of uniform size.
Heat the oil to 350 F in a deep fryer.
Lightly dredge the balls in extra flour and shake off the excess. Fry them in the hot oil until golden brown, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove the cheese balls from the oil and allow them to drain on paper towels before serving.
Serve the cheese balls with the guava dipping sauce on the side.
- Although mixing the dough by hand is ideal, you can use a standing mixer to make lighter work of it.
- If you don't have a deep fryer, you can use a large heavy frying pan, ideally cast iron. Use about three inches of oil.
- The temperature of the oil is important. If you don't have a deep fryer with temperature control, use a candy thermometer or a deep-fry thermometer to test the temperature of the oil before you place the cheese balls into it.
- Feel free to add spices of your choice or a little cayenne or red pepper to the cheese balls for an added zing.