What I love most about cooking are the memories that different smells bring back to me. There is nothing better than walking in the streets of Cochabamba and suddenly smelling fry dough in the air and the sweet corn being boiled. My family would go on the Thursday night of Semana Santa to visit church we would walk from church to church, trying to visit as many as possible before midnight. Outside of each church you would see the tents of the Apis, Pasteles and Buñuelos all being cooked and served hot. We usually took a break in our church visits and enjoyed the bitter-sweet flavor of the Api and the sweet, soft dough of the buñuelos and, even better, the melting cheese inside of a pastel de queso. Yes Cochabambinos love to eat.
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup milk
1 tbsp yeast
3/4 cup hot water
1 tbsp + 1 tsp anise
3 tbsp sugar
3 cups vegetable oil
powdered sugar, honey or molasses.
Get the ingredients together.
Boil water and measure 3/4 cup of hot water. Add the anise and let it cool until you can touch with your finger.
Sift the flour into a large bowl and make a crater shape in the middle.
Add the milk, yeast and egg. Mix.
Separate the anise from the liquid and add this infusion to the dough. The dough needs to change from dry to almost liquid. Add the anise seed at this point and mix.
Let it rise for an hour, if it’s a hot day will take less than an hour.
The dough should still be sticky, that is a good sign, but not liquid. To make the buñuelos. pass your fingers through the oil and take a small portion of the dough and shape the dough into round disks and poke holes in the middle. This takes some practice so don’t get to scared. You want them nice and round, very thin in the middle and thick at the edges.
My mom usually mixes oil and water in a bowl to handle the dough. I like just oil because water and hot oil are not a good mix. While you shaping the dough poke some holes in the middle, this helps to cook faster. Do one at a time.
Heat the oil. Try with a small portion of dough first to see if it’s hot enough. You need to turn them around when you see the edges inside getting golden.
Serve hot with honey or syrup. Goes perfectly with Api or tojori, also with a good cup of black roasted coffee.