Venezuelan Cheese Fingers

“Venezuelan Tequeños” w/ Tamarind Chipotle BBQ sauce

There’s not much to say to describe these delicious Venezuelan treats.

They are cheesy, they are buttery and crispy, salty and sweet, melty and great with dipping sauces.

If you are not salivating yet you must not be human.

Venezuelan Cheese fingers best called Tequeños are one of those finger food/street foods that no matter what always leave a good impression, that’s why they appear in every celebration, party, meeting or any occasion in general, although they are also great eaten as breakfast, dinner or snack. These can also be found in Colombia.

Venezuelan Cheese fingers can be time consuming cause you need to make many of them to be able to fill your cheesy cravings cause you can’t have just one, they are kind of addictive.

In order to make Tequeños (Venezuelan Cheese Fingers) you need to individually wrap cheese sticks in a Latin style pastry very similar to the Pastelitos dough, which is then deep fried and serve while still steaming hot.

The contrast of the dough with the salty cheese is what makes this dish unique. In Venezuela, these Cheese Fingers and many other dishes are made with a type of fresh cheese that is very salty and firm and that only slightly melts with very high temperatures like those used for deep frying.

In Australia and other countries the closest you will find to the above mentioned can be Firm Fetta (although this is a bit sour) or Halloumi which has a high melting point and it’s also very salty. You could use mozzarella or other cheeses instead like saganaki, just make sure the cheese has a high melting point otherwise it is going to melt before the dough cooks through.

Venezuelan Cheese Fingers

Recipe by KeymaCourse: Finger FoodCuisine: Venezuelan, Latin FoodDifficulty: Medium
Servings

50

fingers
Prep time

1

hour 
Cooking time

1

hour 

Ingredients

  • 500g Plain Flour

  • 125g Butter soften

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tbsp sugar

  • 125ml warm water (more or less)

  • 500-700g Firm White Cheese (Halloumi preferable)

  • Vegetable oil for frying

  • Tamarind Chipotle BBQ sauce
  • 1 c tamarind paste (store bought or made by soaking tamarind flesh in warm water and straining)

  • 1/4 c chipotles in adobe sauce

  • 1/2 brown sugar

  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce

  • 1/2 c water (more to thin out if needed)

  • 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar

  • salt to taste

Method

  • Mix flour, salt, sugar, and butter until you get a crumbly consistency like sand.
  • Add eggs and slowly start adding water mixing to form a ball, not to dry neither to sticky.
  • Continue kneading adding more flour if the dough sticks and knead for about 10 min to develop elasticity.
  • Let rest for at least half an hour before forming the Cheese Fingers.
  • Meanwhile cut the cheese sticks to the desire shape they need to be at least 5-8 cm long and no thicker than 1 1/2 cm.
  • Cut dough in 4 and work in batches, roll each piece at a time as thin as possible to 1/4 cm thin, making a rectangle, you don’t need to add flour unless the dough sticks to the surface.
  • Cut long strips of about 2 cm wide, and start wrapping the sticks making sure you fold the cheese and ends and the strip overlaps so no cheese is exposed, pressed with your hands and cut any excess dough.
  • Repeat steps 6 and 7 until you finish all cheese sticks.
  • Fry in batches at 180C until they are golden brown and have puffed a little. Drain in paper towels and serve still hot with dipping sauces like ketchup, mayonnaise, guasacaca or Tamarind chipotle bbq sauce.
  • Tamarind Chipotle BBQ Sauce
  • Mix all ingredients in a blender or food processor and adjust salt and sweetness, cook in the microwave or the stove top until it thickens slightly let cool and serve.