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.
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.
- 2 lbs of cassava, peeled and washed
- 2 cups of oil for frying
- 1/4 lb. of minced beef
- 2 tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro
- 1/4 Scotch bonnet pepper, chopped
- 1 cup of tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoon of oil
- 1 small red onion
- 1 green pepper
- Chop onion and pepper very finely.
- Mix with minced meat, add cilantro, Scotch bonnet pepper and mix well.
- In a shallow pan heat oil over medium heat.
- Add the meat and brown.
- Add 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 a tablespoon of salt and mix.
- 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 for frying over medium heat.
- Deep fry the rolls until they turn golden brown.
- Serve hot.