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How to Make Tequeños, Step-by-Step
Tequeños are always the hit of the party. Gooey strips of salty white cheese are wrapped in pasty dough and fried until golden brown and crispy, then served warm with guacamole for dipping. Tequeños are a Venezuelan invention, thought to have originated from the town of Los Teques, a longtime vacation destination for residents of Caracas. In Venezuela, tequeños are often bite-sized and served with guasacaca, a salsa that is similar to Mexican-style guacamole.
02 of 08
Prepare the Dough
You will need the following ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter, chilled
1/2 cup water
12 ounces queso blanco cheese, farmers cheese, or other firm, salty cheese that melts
Vegetable oil for frying
Chunky-style Gausacaca or other dipping sauce
Prepare the dough: Place the flour in a medium bowl along with the sugar and the salt and whisk together. Cut the butter into 1/2 inch pieces and place them in the bowl with the flour. Add the egg. 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. 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 20-30 minutes (Dough can be prepared ahead of time and chilled in the refrigerator until ready to use).
03 of 08
Cut the Cheese Into Strips
Choose a firm, salty white cheese that does not turn completely gooey when melted. Queso blanco cheese, Salvadoran quesillo, and farmers cheese work well. Cut the cheese into 3-4 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.
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Roll out the dough
On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the dough into a 12 by 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.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
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Wrap each piece of cheese with dough...
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 stick in a spiral fashion, overlapping the edges, until you reach the other end. Cover other end of 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.
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Fry the tequeños in oil
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 bathes, 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).
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