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Caribbean delights: Carimañola

January 17, 2019

Carimañola is a popular recipe from the Caribbean coast of Colombia and Panama. It is like an empanada, except mashed yuca (cassava) is used as the wrapper. It is often served for breakfast, but also as a snack or appetizer. Carimañola consists of mashed cassava, which is filled with beef, chicken or cheese, depending on the area where it is prepared. These snacks are then deep fried and served with condiments like aji or suero.

What you’ll need:

  • 1½ lb yuca or cassava, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)

For meat filling

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ lb ground beef

How to cook them:

  1. In a large pot, place the yuca, salt and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 25 minutes or until fork tender.
  2. Drain the yuca and remove any fibre from the centre. Using a potato masher, mash the yuca, cover and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the onions, red bell pepper and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, scallions, cumin, salt, black pepper and cook for about 1 minute, stirring often.
  5. Add the ground beef and cook until the meat is cooked through, about 7 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes more.
  6. Remove from the heat, adjust the seasoning and let it cool.
  7. Divide the yuca mixture into 10 balls. Make a hole through the centre of each ball with your finger.
  8. Place about 1 tablespoon of meat filling and gently close the ball, giving an oval shape.
  9. In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil and heat to 350 F.
  10. Gently place the carimañolas into the hot oil and cook about 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown, turning them often.
  11. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.Serve warm with ají and enjoy!