This cuñapé frito is like a savory donut. Made with cassava starch and a lot of cheese, it is a good gluten-free snack.
Cuñapé is a recipe from eastern Bolivia where cassava abounds. In this case cassava starch is used, which is a white powder extracted from the cassava root.
There are three ways to prepare cuñapé; baked, fried and abizcochado (double baked), kind of like a biscotti, firm and crunchy and need to be dunked in a drink.
The three kinds of cuñapé use the same ingredients, but in different quantities, which gives them different textures. The main ingredients are cassava starch, lots of cheese, eggs, milk and butter.
Bolivian cheese is dry, and very salty. If you do not have a cheese like that, replace it with mozzarella or Parmesan cheese. Try to avoid fresh cheeses which has more liquid.
The dough for cuñapé comes together pretty quickly. The texture reminds me of playdough.
For this fried cuñapé, the kneading is very important. As I mentioned, this dough has a different texture compare to bread made with regular flour. I recommend that you separate your dough into 10 equal portions first, and then knead each individual portion. You need to press the dough with the palm of your hand and move it away from your body while still pressing. Bring the dough together again. Do this 3 or 4 times.
If your dough is well kneaded, when making a rope it will not come apart. Make a rope and join the ends together to make a ring. The rings need to be thin, the thickness of your finger. It is important to place the rings on a silicone mat or a cotton towel, otherwise they´ll stick to the surface and fall apart when removed.
After frying, the cuñapé comes out crispy on the outside and very spongy on the inside. In Bolivia it is accompanied with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and served as a snack. I like to dunk mine in some molasses.
Note: This recipe was published for the first time on March 12th, 2012 on my old blog. As we celebrate Bolivia’s independence in the month of August, I thought it was a good time to update my Bolivian recipes.
More Bolivian recipes:
- 2 cups shredded cheese (250g)
- 2 cups cassava starch (244g)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 egg
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 to 3 tablespoons milk
- 2 cup oil for frying
In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients. Divide the dough into 10 equal portions.
Knead one portion at a time. You need to press the dough with the palm of your hand and move it away from your body while still pressing. Bring the dough together again. Do this 3 or 4 times.
Form a rope, join the ends forming a ring. Set the rings on a cotton towel and repeat with the rest of the dough.
Heat the oil in a deep pan over medium heat. If the oil is very hot, the cuñapé will crack and the oil will splash.
Cook each cuñapé for 1 minute each side, or until golden brown.
Drain on paper towels.
The dough can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Different cassava starch brands absorb liquid differently. Start with 2 tablespoons of milk. If your dough doesn´t come together add an extra tablespoon of milk.