If you are Venezuelan, there is no birthday, baptism, marriage or celebration without finding a golden and provocative cheese tequeño . Its consumption does not distinguish between race, age or socioeconomic level. It is simple, casual and accessible, which is why it is usually a meeting point for everyone at any social gathering.
The popular tequeño has become part of the Venezuelan DNA, it accompanies us wherever we go, so much so that, in various countries around the world, such as Mexico or Spain, it can be found frozen on the shelves of important local supermarket chains ready for fry.
Venezuelan migration has generated a high demand for Tequeños , which has served as a starting point to obtain a source of income for many who traveled abroad in search of new opportunities and consequently has resulted in this example of national gastronomic identity being now recognized by many foreigners, so here we are going to disclose more details of such an important consumption.
The origin of Venezuelan tequeño
There are several theories regarding the origin of the Tequeños , here we will explore the 3 most recognized.
The thesis that seems most logical is the one that points to the city of Los Teques, due to the similarity with the name, where the creation is attributed to Mrs. Casado, who was dedicated to preparing sweets and sandwiches from her home, and that one day he wrapped a piece of cheese with leftover wheat dough to use it and fried it. Word quickly spread and it became one of the favorites of its clientele. A similar thesis refers to a woman who in the 1930s worked in the home of wealthy families from Caracas who vacationed in the city of Los Teques and among her preparations were some fried cheese fingers to which they named Tequeños. by the local name, although in reality the name of the citizens who live in the city of Los Teques is Tequense and not Tequeño, something important to take into account.
There is also a Tequense, Dr Miguel Angel Estrada, who claims in an interview conducted by journalist Rosanna Di Turi in her blog Gastronomía en Venezuela that it was his aunts and his mother, the Báez sisters, who created the Tequeños when they lived in the area. del Paraíso, which served as party favors for visits from relatives or boyfriends, which later, thanks to their success, were spread by third parties such as Mrs. Luisa Casado.
In another context, it is said that Tequeños were born in Maracaibo, Zulia State, in western Venezuela, in Villa del Rosario, created by an Italian with the last name Franco at the beginning of the 20th century who made them with a firm consistency cheese called Matera. , which maintained the structure of the delicacy in question when it came to withstanding the high temperatures of the oil in which it was fried. Hypothesis that makes a lot of sense since in Maracaibo it is customary to eat everything fried and it is also a large producer of different types of cheese thanks to a well-established livestock industry.
Although there is no accurate record or unanimity between the different hypotheses of its origin, the important thing is to highlight to the entire world that the Tequeño is Venezuelan and keep in mind that it is the responsibility of those of us who write to respect the name of the preparations in order to defend the national flavor with pride.
Types of dough and fillings for tequeños
Tequeño today has evolved from its original format of wheat dough and white cheese to more complex versions that include fillings as diverse as ham, yellow cheese, cream cheese, chocolate and even guava candy, which further contributes to the universality of tequeño since there is one for every taste, although my favorite will always be the original.
Also its characteristic wheat flour dough has been replaced by other types. Some modify the original with a more complex wrapper such as puff pastry, as well as others that seek to diversify the flavor or serve specific market niches such as those who follow gluten-free diets and make it with ripe bananas, like this option. from La Chula , cassava or even bubbly and delicate doughs, made with carbonated water and wheat flour like the goat cheese tequeños from the renowned Venezuelan Chef, Helena Ibarra.
There is also a Peruvian version called tequeño limeño, which consists of a wanton-type dough that can be filled with ají de gallina, stuffed rocoto, lomo saltado or shrimp chupe that I infer were taken by some Venezuelan to Peruvian lands or some place that was left in love with our Tequeños and spread it in his native land, since in the most serious and complete source of that cuisine, the Dictionary of Traditional Peruvian Gastronomy , by Sergio Zapata Acha, does not mention the delicacy in question in any of its pages.
How to make Venezuelan cheese tequeños?
Making tequeños is not an easy task. It requires careful care when making the dough as well as a lot of patience and time to coat each succulent piece of white cheese with the thin strips of dough that will serve as support when subjecting them to the heat of frying.
If you would like to embark on such an exciting adventure, you can review this video where the renowned chef Sumito Estévez explains step by step in detail the procedure of one of the many recipes that exist to taste a delicious homemade tequeño.
For those who do not have as much free time but would still like to taste a succulent homemade tequeño , you can purchase many types of tequeños at Mamafoods in just one click and at the door of your house. There is a lot of variety among which are: Proper Tequeños , Tio Simón , and Zerpas .
How to fry a tequeño?
The journalist Giuliana Chiappe tells us that “A perfectly made tequeño should be golden on the outside and cooked on the inside, with the cheese hot, but without completely melting. When bitten, a perfectly made tequeño should crunch slightly between the teeth and reveal the piece of cheese inside, separated from the walls,” in his article for Bienmesabe magazine The 7 steps to fry a perfect tequeño .
The tips for frying the perfect tequeño are as follows:
- Place enough oil (approximately 1 liter) in a cauldron, so that the tequeños float and are separated from each other. The more oil there is, the more uniform the cooking will be. It is also important to consider the type of oil, preferably use a neutral one that does not modify the flavor of the tequeños.
- Heat the oil over high heat, without reaching the smoking point. A trick to know that it has reached the right temperature is to place a ball of dough in the oil and if it floats quickly, it is ready.
- Fry the frozen tequeños, yes frozen, and in small quantities, 6 large tequeños for a liter of oil is a good number, this will ensure that the temperature of the oil does not drop much and they can be toasted quickly. This will also prevent the cheese from leaking out before browning.
- The key is to frequently stir the tequeños with a colander while they fry. They can be removed into the air and replaced to make them crispy.
- The total cooking time should be between 3 and a half minutes and 4 minutes.
- Once the desired color is reached, drain them and place them on absorbent paper and they are ready to eat.
And although it may seem like it, the long journey of tequeño that began in the family kitchens of the 1930s will not have ended here, passing through the hands that prepare them today to continue on your palate, and that will then continue on its way with your recommendation for that more people have the privilege of tasting such an appetizing sandwich. Enjoy them!