If you read our book, or browse through our blog, you’ll notice that many a time we credit a friend, a reader, a friend’s grandmother or a stranger we gave a ride home in an isolated area of the country for a recipe. As is the case with these arañitas and arepitas de yuca (Cassava fritters).
While it is impossible for a Dominican to know each and every one of the dishes of our culinary heritage, collectively, we can put them together. I am lucky I have met, virtually and in real life, so many people that have taught me so much.
This is not to say that these recipes that were passed on to us were copied verbatim to our blog, far from the truth. There is a process of testing, then finding out if it works, how many people it serves, how long it takes to prepare, cooking, readjusting, writing, editing, etc. But it would have been much more difficult to start without at least those snippets of information. We are grateful for that. And I am a huge believer of giving credit to people.
This recipe is an example of this. It was shared with us by our friend Professor Midence from Santiago. It’s possible that after a lot of changes he could barely recognize it. But without him I would have not found out that, besides my beloved arepitas de yuca, there existed another version: arañitas.
It’s amazing what a slight change in the process can yield.
Arañitas, “little spiders” in Spanish, is a treat for every special meal. You can use these as a side dish or as ‘munchies’. The combination of salt, sugar and the aromatic flavors of aniseed in a crispy fritter that will make your eyes pop.
The difference in these two side dishes is what side of the grater you use. The arañitas should have lots of cassava threads sticking out in all directions, thus the “spidery” look!
Aniseed is sadly an underutilized spice, however, in Dominican cuisine it is the second most important ingredient in arepitas, these divine cassava fritters.
- 1/2 lb of cassava, grated (see notes)
- 1 teaspoons of sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of aniseed
- 1 1/2 cup of oil for frying
- Peel, wash and grate the cassava.
- In a bowl, mix grated cassava, sugar, salt and aniseed.
- Add egg and mix well.
- Heat oil in a small frying pan over medium heat.
- 1 1/2 tablespoonful at a time, deep-fry until golden brown. Be careful with hot oil splatters.
- Rest on a paper towel to soak the excess oil. Serve hot.
To make arañitas use the coarsest side of the grater, for arepitas de yucas the least coarse side.