It’s that time of the year again. You suddenly wake up and realize the summer is gone. But where, you wonder. The first chilly days of the fall are already here, and all the festivities of the end of year will start sooner than we know it.
For this year’s festivities, I propose that you try something different (unless you’re Peruvian or Venezuelan, and then this won’t be any different than the usual). If you’re hosting parties, small dinners, or attending someone else’s gathering and want to help out a bit, these hors d’oeuvre will make you a popular girl or boy. You still have several weeks to practice and master the art of making tequeños, although they’re easier to make than they look.
Tequeños are an absolute classic in Peruvian celebrations, although they are originally from Venezuela. In Lima no party is complete without them, and people love them so much that many restaurants have them on their menu too, or even give them as a courtesy instead of the usual bread and butter before a meal.
I love tequeños mainly because I’m an indomitable cheese lover, but also because the way we eat them is a fantastic combination: cheese-filled wonton fingers, with guacamole. Who wouldn’t like this? And the great thing about them is that they’re never the same. Depending on the kind of cheese you stuff them with, the texture and taste changes; sometimes firm, sometimes completely gooey and melting in your mouth.
Guacamole also tends to have the particular touch of every cook. Some people just mix mashed avocado with mayonnaise (this is very typical in Peru); or others, like my mom and I, put a bit more effort into it and mix the avocado with chopped onion, tomato, lemon, Tabasco, and fresh coriander.
Nowadays, with the gastronomic boom and the love for everything Peruvian, Venezuelan tequeños are being Peruvianized even more, filling them up with lomo saltado, ají de gallina, and other typical Peruvian dishes, or served with some creamy Huancaina sauce. I won’t even attempt at doing this today; I’m in the mood for something fast, easy, mess-free, and guaranteed to look and taste good even if you don’t do it perfectly or have no cooking experience.
Tequeños really are extremely easy to make, and so is guacamole. I hope you and your friends enjoy them, and they turn your upcoming party season into a fun and exciting encounter with foods from many corners of the world.
For more recipes like this go to The Everything Peruvian Cookbook.
- 1 pack wonton dough sheets (you can get this in many supermarkets, or Chinese grocery stores)
- Cheese (I bought a pack of queso fresco and it was perfect)
- Oil for deep frying (I used canola)
- 4 ripe avocados
- Salt and pepper
- Cut the cheese in strips about ¾ the length of each wonton sheet.
- Put the cheese on one side of the wonton sheet, and start rolling the sheet around it, leaving a little edge unrolled. To close, wet your finger and pass it along the edge of the wonton sheet, and then finish rolling. Do the same to close the side ends, pressing with your fingers to make sure the dough sticks well.
- You can do these first steps in advance, cover the uncooked tequeños, and leave the frying till the end, right before serving.
- For the guacamole, mash the avocado and mix with mayonnaise, to taste. Season with salt and pepper.
- In medium/high heat, bring a lot of oil (1/2 cup or more) to a zizzle and put a few tequeños in the frying pan. Wait until they’re starting to brown on one side, and then turn and do the same on the other side. Place on a dish with paper towel, which will absorb the excess oil.