Tequenos (Venezuelan Cheese Sticks)

Tequeños, Venezuelan 'Cheese Sticks' Traditional Food

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Prep: 45 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 24 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
160 Calories
12g Fat
8g Carbs
4g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24
Amount per serving
Calories 160
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 16%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 24mg 8%
Sodium 148mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 101mg 8%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 33mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Tequeños are an irresistible and iconic Venezuelan snack. They are cheesy breadsticks, made by frying pieces salty white queso blanco cheese that have been wrapped with flaky dough in a characteristic spiral fashion.

Tequeños are popular as afternoon snacks, bar food, and petite appetizers at parties. They are typically served with dipping sauce, such as Venezuelan-style guacamole. Tequeños are thought to originate from the town of Los Teques, a longtime vacation destination for residents of Caracas. Their popularity has spread to other countries, where they are sometimes prepared with wonton wrappers or empanada dough. Tequeños can be dressed up with additional fillings, such as pieces of sliced ham, vegetables, and there are even dessert tequeños with sweet fillings.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 1/2 ounces (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, chilled

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 12 ounces queso blanco cheese

  • 1 quart vegetable oil, for frying

  • Guasacaca, or preferred dipping sauce, optional, for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place the flour in a medium bowl along with the sugar and the salt and whisk together.

  3. Cut the butter into 1/2 inch pieces and place them in the bowl with the flour.

  4. Add the egg.

  5. Use your fingers to mix the egg and butter into the flour until the mixture is sandy and crumbly, and the butter is in very small pieces.

  6. Stir 1/4 cup of water into the flour/butter mixture using a fork. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture starts to come together as a dough. Knead the dough in the bowl several times, adding more water if it is overly crumbly. The dough should be soft and kneadable but will appear somewhat shaggy and not perfectly blended. Cover with saran wrap and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.

  7. Cut the cheese into 3 to 4 inch long sticks, about 1/2 inch square. Depending on the size of the cheese block you start with, you should have about 24 sticks.

  8. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the dough into a 12 x 14-inch rectangle. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 1 inch wide strips lengthwise, so that you end up with 12 strips, each about 14 inches long and an inch wide.

  9. Use a strip of dough to wrap one of the cheese sticks: Start at one end of the cheese stick and cover the end 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 of the cheese stick and seal, cutting off any excess dough. (You can dampen the dough with a bit of water to help seal it). The cheese should be completely covered with dough.

  10. Repeat with remaining cheese sticks and remaining half of the dough until you have about 24 dough covered cheese sticks.

  11. Cover the bottom of a heavy, high-sided skillet with vegetable oil and heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot, cook the cheese sticks in batches, turning them with a spatula until all sides are golden brown. Remove sticks to a plate lined with paper towels and let cool. (You can also fry tequeños in a deep fat fryer if preferred).

  12. Serve warm with guasacaca or preferred dipping sauce. Enjoy!

Tip

Tequeños can be kept warm until ready to serve in a low-temperature oven (300 F), covered in foil.

Recipe Variation

  • Instead of queso blanco, use farmers cheese, or another firm, salty cheese that melts.