Someone gave me a deep fat-fryer about a month ago and it sat in my kitchen, ignored, until just last week. I was having such a hard time with the notion of sinking foods into so much hot sizzling oil, tightly contained in a bin-like receptacle plugged into the wall. And my arteries collapsing under the weight of it all.
But then I thought, Oh my God, I can make so many things!!!!
Things like chulitos (cassava mini-rolls).
As initiation to my deep fat frying experience, I admit, I made chicken wings and potato skins, which were awesome – but hardly “típico”, you know? The night after that, we did tostones – and they were also awesome. Wow, I realized. Now I can make everything from quipe to pastelitos! Bollitos and chulitos, as well. An endless list of deep fried delights.
It’s pretty easy; the food is placed in a basket and into the machine, which has this cool handle and switch that lifts it up from (and into) the bubbling evil. There’s no splattering, no grease-fire freak-outs and very little clean-up, de ñapa. Now I’m constantly searching out deep-frying ideas – which is sort of scary, if you consider that I’m in charge of meals, 7 days a week, for a family of four, and too much fried food might alter their growth patterns, or something. So I will try and control myself and make only the occasional “fritura”.
These little rolls are the quintessential street food: delicious, but not fully appreciated. Chulitos can be made filled with meat (the traditional way) or filled with cheese or just plain. Feel free to experiment.
Jill, a member of our original team (where we knew her as Aunt Jane), and contributor to our book, is Canadian, mom to two Canadian-Dominican boys and resided in the Dominican Republic for several years.
- 1 small red onion
- 1 bell pepper
- ¼ lb [0.12 kg] of minced beef
- 2 tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro
- ¼ Scotch bonnet pepper, chopped
- 2 tablespoon of vegetable oil (peanut, corn or soy)
- 1 cup of tomato sauce
- ½ teaspoon of salt (or more, to taste)
- ½ teaspoon of pepper (or more, to taste)
- 2 lbs [0.9 kg] of cassava, peeled and washed
- ¾ teaspoon of salt (or more, to taste)
- 2 cups of oil for frying (corn, peanut or soy)
- Chop onion and pepper very finely.
- Mix with minced meat, add cilantro, Scotch bonnet pepper and mix well.
- In a skillet heat oil over medium heat.
- Add the meat and brown. Stir in tomato sauce and simmer over low heat until all liquid has evaporated.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove from heat and reserve.
- Grate the cassava with the least coarse side of the grater, or using the grating attachment of the food processor.
- With a clean cotton cloth squeeze the ground cassava to get rid of excess liquid. Eliminate this liquid.
- Season the cassava mix with and mix well.
- Put two tablespoons of the mixture in the palm of your hand. Flatten it and put a teaspoon of the cooked meat in the center.
- Roll the cassava mixture over it forming small rolls, seal the ends. Squeeze to compact.
- Heat oil in small frying pan over medium heat. Deep fry the rolls until they turn golden brown, lowering them into the oil with a slotted spoon. Be careful with splatters.
- Serve warm.