Going through my childhood flavors I clearly remember the weekend’s breakfast off the house, my mother took me to this joint and I always choose a “tequeñon” with watermelon juice.
There are a few articles about its origin but there is no unanimity or document that can prove its birth and everything is just based on interpretations or anecdotes without no historical support. According to the professor Rafael Cartay, el tequeño is “an appetizer or a deep fried finger food with a cylindrical shape made out with a white semi-hard cheese stick wrapped in a weath flour dough. That is believed to be invented at Los Teques.
By the XIX century, Los Teques was a very exclusive area for vacations to the most wealthy families in Caracas, and since it beginnings the Tequeño was served as a side dish or finger food. In Venezuela there is no party with no tequeños, so people call them “the party kings”.
According to the Venezuelan food writer Miro Popic, the Teques’ story is not quite like that. He found out that professor Jose Rafael Lovera found a neighborhood in Caracas, called “barrio el teque” where once they caught a burglar and when he was confronted he said he was buying some cheese pastries, that could have become the “tequeños”.
Popic have also found a story about it being created in the Zulia state, a western state in Venezuela mostly dairy producers, by an Italian immigrant named Franco. This story might have sense because a tequeño is a deep fried cheese stick covered in dough, and with all the dairy farms and the deep frying culture of people from there, it can actually be certain. They said they used a white fresh cheese called “queso de matera” or flower pot cheese that has enough consistency to stand high temperatures and keep the structure.
So here it is, there is many origins for the same one, but anyway, it’s a very tasty snack.
1/3 cup corn oil
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of milk
2 1/2 cups of all propose flour
2 lbs of white cheese such as farmers cheese.
Sufficient oil for deep frying
In a saucepan mix all the liquid ingredients and warm it up and beat until create an emulsion without boiling.
In a big bowl sift the four and shape a vulcano in the middle.
Pour the warm liquid in the middle of the flour and fold it until having a uniform dough, knead it a couple of mitutes and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile cut the chese into 1/2 inch by 3 inches for small tequeños and 1 by 6 inches for larger ones.
Once the dough is rested, extend it with a rolling pin until getting it very thin (1/16 inch). Then cut it into 2 inches stripes for the larger ones and 1/2″ for the snack size ones.
To assembly them put the cheese stick and fold it over with the dough, once folded in both sides cut the stripe and cover all the stick in a spiral so there is no cheese uncovered.
Once done set aside on a platter covered with flour and move to the next one, the tequeños can be done ahead and frozen up to a month.
In a frying pan heat the oil and fry the tequeños until golden, set aside on a paper towel to absorb the extra oil.
If you want to bake them introduce them in the preheated oven on 350 °F until golden for 15-20 minutes, then carefully let them rest for a few minutes and enjoy.