Cookbook:Tequeños (Venezuelan Breaded Cheese Sticks)
A tequeño is prepared with a bread dough with white cheese (queso blanco) in the middle. It is formed into a bread stick and then fried. It is one of the most popular snack foods in parties, especially weddings. It is said that a party is not a true Venezuelan party without tequeños.
The name "tequeños" comes from the town of Los Teques, capital of the state of Miranda where it is believed this food originated from. The oldest known references to it come from the first decade of the 19th century. At that time the richest families of Caracas would spend long vacation periods in Los Teques and it is believed that they started preparing them with the left over dough of another Venezuelan food "pastelitos".
- Mix the flour, oil, egg, salt and sugar in a bowl.
- While kneading, add a tablespoon or two of water.
- Keep kneading until it does not stick to your hands.
- Let the dough rest for 1-2 hours.
- While the dough is resting, cut the cheese into finger-like strips, roughly 1 cm x 1 cm x 7 cm (½" by ½" by 3").
- After the dough has rested, shape it into palm sized balls.
- Roll them out until they are ½ cm (¼-0.125 inch) thick.
- Cut the rolled-out dough into long strips that are 1½ cm (¾") wide.
- Wrap the cheese strips with the dough strips.
- Make sure you cover all the cheese and seal it inside the dough, because otherwise the cheese will leak out of the dough when you fry them.
- After you have wrapped the cheese in dough, dust the raw "tequeños" with flour and deep fry them in hot oil, until a golden tone is obtained.
Tequeños are best served with guasacaca, in either its mild (green) or spicy (red) formats.