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Traditional Colombian food recipe: how to cook buñuelos

Buñuelos
Isabela Gómez

Isabela Gómez

A creative designer who loves to write, travel and is ready to explore everything that is around!

Their texture, their golden color, and flavor. These fried Colombian balls won our hearts! Learn how to cook buñuelos and make your belly and heart happy forever!

When I came to Bogotá for the first time, I was very excited to discover a different culture, new places, and of course, the food! I noticed that in every corner, beside a local market, there is a bakery; sometimes they just sell breakfast, cookies, pastries, and bread, but there are others that have absolutely everything, in addition to the most requested baked bread by Colombians, such as coconut bread, empanadas, pastelitos, cheese and ham croissants, and my favorite, buñuelos!

Buñuelos are a Colombian favorite, they love them so much that it’s a must to share them on Christmas with natilla, which is a custard. These golden fried balls are made from two types of flour: starch of yuca (a tuber) and starch of corn. The brand that many of Latinos use is Maizena. Before starting this recipe, I have to say that in Colombia, you can find a mix to cook buñuelos where you can just add the cheese and milk, it all depends on the brand mix. For this recipe, I made them from scratch, and also, just in Colombia, you will find the special cheese they use for the buñuelo called “queso costeño,” which is a very salty and semi-hard cheese that gives a unique contrast of flavors and it has to be grated. I like to use “Queso D’Lusía Costeño Molido”.

You can find all the ingredients to cook buñuelos in any market in Colombia, Nowadays, I go to Carulla because it’s very close to my house. All the ingredients will cost approximately $55,600 COP ($18.50 USD) and you will have some left for another occasion. Now let start cooking this golden ball!

BUÑUELOS INGREDIENTS (12 to 15 buñuelos)

  • 1 cup (128 gm) of Maizena (corn starch)
  • ½ cup (64 gm) of Yucarina (yuca starch)
  • ¼ cup (32 gm) of sugar
  • 2 cups (256 gm) costeño grated cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • ⅛ tsp of baking powder
  • Vegetable oil
  • ¼ (60 ml) of warm milk (optional)

BUÑUELOS PREPARATION

  1. Start by mixing the first four ingredients together (Maizena, Yucarina, Sugar, costeñocheese). Then add the eggs, the salt, and the butter. It has to end up like a cold porcelain clay texture; if the mix is still a little dry, you can add the warm milk (it has to be warm to avoid any modification of the texture).
  2. Now that you have the mixture with the texture that is needed, add the baking powder and mix it very well. When finished, and make some rounded balls. Mine are about 1.18 inches (3 cm) in diameter, but they will grow in the oil and it also will improve their roundness.
  3. In this part, you have to be very careful because you have to wait until the vegetable oil reaches a high temperature. The idea is to have enough oil in the pot so the buñuelos can float. The ideal temperature of the oil will be 325°F (163°C).
  4. When the oil hits the temperature, add the buñuelos, but try not to put all of them in at once because they need space to float. They will land at the bottom of the pot and when they’re almost ready, they start floating in the oil.
  5. Wait about 20 to 25 minutes to be ready or when they have a golden appearance.
  6. When they are done, put them in an absorbent paper to get rid of all the oil excess and now you can serve them.

Quick Tip: To know exactly the temperature of the oil, you can try frying one ball first and wait 30 seconds. If the ball rises to the top before the 30 seconds are up, the oil is too hot and you must turn down the heat, or if it takes more than 30 seconds, the oil needs to be hotter. So as you see, it has to take 30 seconds approximately.

I love this type of baked snack, but if you want it for dinner or maybe for a special occasion, it can look very boring having just the buñuelos, so I asked my grandmother and she understood what I was looking for: a sweet sauce for contrast. Here is the recipe for the sauce:

”MELAO” SAUCE PREPARATION

Over medium temperature, heat up 4 cups of water with 400 gm of panela, then add 3 clove spices and 3 allspice peppers, and mix until the texture becomes thick, almost like honey. Then serve it and that’s it!

You can find these ingredients at any grocery store or market. It will all depend on the brand you choose, but it shouldn’t cost more than $15,000 COP ($5 USD).

Hope you try to cook buñuelos at home and it tastes the same as the one that sells on the Colombian streets. For me, buñuelos are now part of my life; they are very unique, not only for their peculiar form but their tasty crusty shell that with a bite, turns into a very spongy texture, a piece of heaven!

If you want to try other recipes made by me, just click the following links:

Or if you want me to try another Colombian recipe, leave it in the comments below!

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