A Buñuelo, alternatively called bimuelo, birmuelo, bermuelo, burmuelo, bonuelo, is a fried dough ball. It is a popular snack in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain, Peru, Turkey, Greece, Morocco, and is a tradition at Christmas, Ramadan and among Sephardic Jews at Hanukkah. It will usually have a filling or a topping. It is also an “essential” dish in Mexican cuisine.
Buñuelos are first known to have been consumed among Spain’s Morisco population. typically consist of a simple, wheat-based yeast dough, often flavoured with anise, that is thinly rolled, cut or shaped into individual pieces, then fried and finished off with a sweet topping. Buñuelos may be filled with a variety of things, sweet or savoury. They can be round in ball shapes or disc shaped.
Regional adaptations of Buñuelo
In Colombia they are made with a small curd white cheese and formed into doughy balls then fried golden brown. It is a traditional Christmas dish, served along with natillas and “manjar blanco”.
In Cuba they are traditionally twisted in a figure 8 and covered in an anise caramel. The dough contains cassava and malanga.
In the Dominican Republic, buñuelos are rolled into balls from a dough made of cassava (called yuca) and eggs. They are then covered in a cinnamon sugar syrup, often using coconut milk instead of water.
In Nicaragua buñuelos are made of cassava. The buñuelos are rolled into balls and deep fried and served with honey. They are eaten year-round, and are a typical side-dish or snack served during holidays.
In Puerto Rico, buñuelos are small round and are often filled with cheese, ham, spices, and then backed off. Sweet buñuelos are also round but made with cassava and filled with guava and cream cheese and usually fried. Buñuelos in Puerto Rico can also be a spicy round buns made with, orégano brujo, paprika, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and allspice.
In Veneto, Italy, the frittelle or fritołe are eaten during Carnival, being a consolidated Venetian tradition. They can sometimes be filled with custard; a bigger type is filled with apple slices.
In Italy the Zeppole is a popular version of buñuelos made of dough balls about 5 cm in diameter, these doughnuts or fritters are usually topped with powdered sugar and may be filled with custard, jelly, cannoli-style pastry cream or a butter-and-honey mixture. Their consistency ranges from light and puffy, to bread or pasta-like.
In Mexico buñuelos are made from a yeasted dough with a hint of anise that is deep-fried, then drenched in a syrup of brown sugar, cinnamon, and guava. Buñuelos are commonly served in Mexico and other Latin American countries with icing sugar, a cinnamon and sugar topping, or hot sugar cane syrup (piloncillo) and are sold in fairs, carnivals, and Christmas events such as Las Posadas.
There are references to buñelos in Majorca, Catalonia or in Valencia; there are also buñuelos in Turkey, India, Puerto Rico, and Cuba; buñuelos in Russia. Jews in Turkey make buñuelos with matzo meal and eat them during Passover. They are also popular during Hanukkah.
A similar Dutch dish is called oliebollen. Oliebollen are sweetened with vanilla extract and can contain raisins or currants. The finished product can also be filled with cream to form Berliner Bollen. Oliebollen are traditionally served on New Year’s Eve.
In many Latin places this particular dish can be also made with flour tortillas, and covered in sugar and or cinnamon.
- 4 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons butter
- oil (for frying)
- cinnamon-sugar mixture
- In large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. In smaller bowl, beat eggs and milk. Add this gradually, beating, to flour mixture.
- Add 60 g melted butter, beat.
- Place dough on floured surface and knead til silky and elastic.
- Roll into balls or ropes, and flatten with the palm of your hand.
- Fry in hot oil, (190°C), until golden.
- Drain on paper towels.
- Roll or toss in cinnamon/sugar mix.