What is a yaniqueque, and where did it come from?
You know what? there seems to be a lot of theories and quite the disagreement. One popular theory is that it came from the British West Indies and it is a corruption of the name Johnny Cakes, a dish with which it shares very little in common.
Other equally argued-for theories exist. But I am not a food historian and I am comfortable accepting that the answers to these questions are not quite vital.
There are also several variations of the same dish throughout the island, to further complicate things. This is the yaniqueque as I know it.
These delicious, crunchy, flaky, deep-fried fast food wonders are a must-have on a visit to Boca Chica, the popular Dominican beach.
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 cup of water
- 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil (soy, corn or canola) for the dough
- 2 cups of vegetable oil (soy, corn or canola) (for frying)
- 1 cup of flour for working the dough and sprinkling on the counter.
- 1/2 teaspoon of coarse sea salt for sprinkling.
Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Pour in water and the oil for the dough and mix in. Work the dough on a lightly floured surface until everything is well mixed, don't knead the dough (add some flour if it is too sticky or water if it is too dry).
Let dough rest for 10 min covered in plastic film.
Extend with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface until it is very thin, nearly translucent. The thinner it is, the crispier it will be. If the dough is sticking, dust with flour as it becomes necessary.
Cut into the dough circles two 1-inch [2.5 cm] slits with a knife. If the circles are a bit misshapen when you lift them, don't worry, that's how they look when you buy from street vendors.
Heat oil over medium-high heat (350 ºF [175 ºF]). Fry the circles of dough, turning them halfway until they turn golden brown on both sides, rest on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
Sprinkle with sea salt to taste and serve.
Yaniqueques come in all sizes, from the LPs (those were some big disks which were popular before cassettes and CDs, for you whippersnappers) to little ones served with chocolate de agua for breakfast. Make yours in whichever size you like. I prefer mine about 4" [2.5 cm] in diameter as they are easier to handle.