Chulitos (Cassava Mini-Rolls)

Chulitos Recipe (Cassava Mini-Rolls): Humble, and often looked down upon, these are one of the best buffet dishes in the Dominican cuisine.

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).

Chulitos Recipe (Cassava Mini-Rolls): Humble, and often looked down upon, these are one of the best buffet dishes in the Dominican cuisine.

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”.

Chulitos Recipe (Cassava Mini-Rolls): Humble, and often looked down upon, these are one of the best buffet dishes in the Dominican cuisine.

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 Wyatt

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.

Chulitos Recipe (Cassava Mini-Rolls)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Chulitos Recipe (Cassava Mini-Rolls): Humble, and often looked down upon, these are one of the best buffet dishes in the Dominican cuisine.
Author:
Serves: 12 (aprox)
Ingredients
For the filling
  • 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)
For the rolls
  • 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)
Instructions
To make the filling
  1. Chop onion and pepper very finely.
  2. Mix with minced meat, add cilantro, Scotch bonnet pepper and mix well.
  3. In a skillet heat oil over medium heat.
  4. Add the meat and brown. Stir in tomato sauce and simmer over low heat until all liquid has evaporated.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Remove from heat and reserve.
To make the rolls
  1. Grate the cassava with the least coarse side of the grater, or using the grating attachment of the food processor.
  2. With a clean cotton cloth squeeze the ground cassava to get rid of excess liquid. Eliminate this liquid.
  3. Season the cassava mix with and mix well.
  4. 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.

  5. Roll the cassava mixture over it forming small rolls, seal the ends. Squeeze to compact.
  6. 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.
  7. Serve warm.

Comments

  1. If I had to place a wage mine would be that you didn't squeeze enough liquid out of the paste. Which is why you need a clean cloth.

    Please follow the recipe as written and see if it works.

  2. Mark

    Well I tried to make this last night and it was an epic fail. I was able to get a pretty good paste from the cassava but when I went to fry them, they all fell apart. I didn't squeeze the paste with a cloth, I just mashed it a little bit while it was in the strainer. Could this be the reason? Also there were pieces of the paste that were still firm but I discarded those. You are supposed to boil the yucca before making the paste, yes? I want to try it again tonight but there are too many factors to why they may have fallen apart. Should I put water on the edges before I seal them? If it happens again I will probably just pan fry the yucca and mix it all together and serve it in a bowl. Or I will just use maseca instead of the yucca. Let me know if you have any ideas. Thanks.

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