Hojaldres: A Panamanian breakfast treat

Introducing… The first installment of the new Cultural section of the Few for Change blog!

This month we’re featuring a recipe for hojaldres, a Panamanian fried bread that’s similar to fried dough, but is usually eaten at breakfast time (yum!). We made hojaldres at our staff retreat in July, and relished the memory of eating fried food before noon.  We even invented a new breakfast sandwich, a cultural fusion celebrating the finest in both Panamanian and American cuisine.  Behold, the Pan-American: a strip of bacon nestled inside folded hojaldres.  ¡Disfrutalo!

Hojaldres (o-HAL-drəs)

(Recipe from Ciestialmente Dulce, http://celestialmentedulce.blogspot.com/2010/09/hojaldre-hojalda-panamena.html)

2 cups of flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of white sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon of oil or butter

½ cup of water

Oil for frying

  1. Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.  Mound the ingredients and make an indentation in the middle.  Add the oil and one tablespoon of the water.
  2. While kneading, add the water a tablespoon at a time, until the dough no longer sticks to your hands.
  3.  Form dough into a ball, cover bowl with a cloth, and let it rest for two hours.  (After the two hours, you can cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough until the following day, if desired.)
  4. When ready to fry, heat a few inches of oil in a pot over medium heat.  Form the dough into small balls (a little goes a long way), and use your hands to stretch them thin and flat, like pizza dough.  Carefully add the stretched dough balls, one or two at a time, and fry until golden on one side, then flip and fry the other side.  (It helps to place a screen over the pot to prevent oil spatters.)

Remove dough, and allow to cool slightly.  Enjoy your hojaldres plain, or with powdered sugar, cinnamon, or even bacon!