Chulitos (Cassava mini-rolls)

Chulitos (Cassava mini-rolls)

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 (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”.

Chulitos (Cassava mini-rolls)

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 (Cassava mini-rolls)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Humble, and often looked down upon, these chulitos (cassava rolls) are, in my humble opinion, one of the best buffet dishes in the Dominican cuisine.
Serves: 12 (aprox)
  • 2 lbs of cassava, peeled and washed
  • 2 cups of oil for frying
  • Salt
For the filling
  • ¼ lb. of minced beef
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro
  • ¼ Scotch bonnet pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup of tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoon of oil
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • Salt
  • Pepper
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 shallow pan heat oil over medium heat.
  4. Add the meat and brown.
  5. Add tomato sauce and simmer over low heat until all liquid has evaporated.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Remove from heat and reserve.
To make the chulitos
  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 a tablespoon of salt and mix.
  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 for frying over medium heat.
  7. Deep fry the rolls until they turn golden brown.
  8. Serve hot.
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{ 19 comments… add one }

  • Estefani August 30, 2014, 11:11 PM

    Can I bake them instead of frying them?

  • Comilon October 9, 2013, 1:21 PM

    This looks great! I will certainly try these.

  • Patrice April 24, 2013, 10:59 PM

    i love all that has been done with cassava.

  • Ruthie November 15, 2012, 2:46 PM

    What kind of sauce can I make to compliment the chulitos…any ideas??

  • Icelsa October 10, 2012, 4:13 PM

    I have make this before, I want to know if I could bake them insted. Have anyone try it and make them bake?

  • Aunt Clara October 25, 2011, 8:14 AM

    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.

  • Mark October 25, 2011, 7:06 AM

    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.

  • jose July 28, 2011, 6:26 AM

    Coriander is culantro…you can buy the culantro leaves and chop them up. For me coriander is powdered culantro. You can also substitute cilantro leaves as well.

  • ashley June 24, 2011, 8:21 PM

    what do you mean about coriander.when you say chop finely do you want us to buy the seeds or the plant or the powder

  • Mariana June 18, 2011, 7:21 AM

    This is very similar to alcapurrias. :) very yummy!!!

  • BIANCA April 19, 2011, 7:40 PM

    @melissa, i actually used a JUICER!! it worked out very welL!!!! i made them with cheese instead of beef so i had to make them into balls but it was delicious! AND THE KUICER IDEA WORKED PERFECT!

  • Melissa April 6, 2011, 7:17 PM

    Bianca, how did it go? Did you use the processor?

  • BIANCA March 26, 2011, 12:20 PM

    hi, instead of grating it with the grater can i process and puree the yuca in a processor?……….i am going to try it this way and i will let you guys know how it goes

  • Karina March 9, 2011, 12:02 PM

    how do you make the cassava paste?

    • Aunt Clara March 9, 2011, 2:06 PM

      Check the paragraph right before the list of ingredients.

  • GISELLE March 4, 2011, 5:00 PM


    • Aunt Clara March 5, 2011, 7:05 AM

      I have no idea what cassava powder is, so I can't tell you if it will work.