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Panamanian Recipes Part 1: Hojaldres

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People who come to Panama experience all sorts of new foods, some of which even vary by region. People often write to me, upon returning to their home country, and ask for recipes.

The following recipe is commonly prepared by local Panamanian families and this breakfast staple is enjoyed by guests at La MICA Biological Station. This recipe, and the ones to follow in the upcoming articles, were written down as the Panamanians prepared the meals as they do not measure anything, but simply cook to taste. Experiment with the recipes to find the exact taste that best suites you and your family!

Hojaldre

This fried bread is served for breakfast throughout Panama. Typically the dough is prepared the night before and allowed to set, but here is a quick recipe that will have the hojaldre on your table in minutes.

Serves: 2-4 Prep & Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Cooking oil
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • ¼ cup flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1-1 ½ teaspoon of baking powder
  • Water

Preparation:

  1. Mix 2 cups of flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Add water slowly and mix with your hands until the flour forms a ball that is not too wet or too dry.
  2. Add extra flour to keep it from sticking to your fingers. Break off a portion about the size of a golf ball, knead in your hands, and flatten to about ¼ inch thick.
  3. Heat vegetable oil in a small frying pan until it pops. Place the flattened dough into the oil and turn until barely golden brown.
  4. Repeat until all dough has been used.
  5. Add yellow cheese when warm or serve with sausage or other breakfast meats.
  6. Enjoy!

This quick bread is filling and something different from the typically toast and biscuits you are used to!

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