Bolitas de Queso (Arepa Cheese Balls), photo by Estrella BenmamanPhoto by Estrella Benmaman

Bolitas de Queso (Arepa Cheese Balls)

Cuisine: Venezuelan
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 20 cheese balls
The secret to these is using a sharp cheese! Parmesan is a great subsitute to Venezuela's queso duro in this recipe.

Growing up in Venezuela meant eating tons of dishes that use as their base, precooked corn meal - the flour used to make arepas. These lesser known recipes, such as bolitos, arepas, arepas dulces (sweet arepas), and bolitas de queso, this recipe, were always a family favorite.

Bolitas de queso are basically fried cheeseballs, so these are not for everyday consumption, but perfect for a party appetizer or for an indulgent treat. We used to make them on Sundays at my house growing up.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • cups pre-cooked corn meal for arepas (PAN is a common brand)
  • 1 cup hard white cheese (queso duro, or Parmesan)
  • 2 cups vegetable oil for frying

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Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix water and salt until the salt dissolves.
  2. Slowly add corn meal. Mix with your hands, using circular movements, making sure everything is mixed well. Rest for 5 minutes. Add the grated cheese.
  3. In a deep frying pan, heat vegetable oil over medium heat until it reaches 350º F.
  4. Divide dough into small, 1-inch balls. Fry them each for two minutes, or until golden. Drain them in a dish lined with paper towels.
  5. Serve them warm, with guasacaca on the side or any dipping sauce of your choice.

Chef Notes

For a tasty accent, I sometimes add 1/2 cup spinach to the dough mix.

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