Hojuelas Salvadoreñas

hojuelas salvadoreñas

Hojuelas (pronounced oh-hway-las) are a sweet, fried treat eaten in El Salvador on November 2nd for Día de los Difuntos. You can often see women cooking them and selling them on the street.

Salvadoran hojuelas are the same thing as Mexican buñuelos, but what some Latin American countries call buñuelos, El Salvador also calls nuégados. Sufficiently mixed up? Me too.

Anyway, while I was researching and trying to sort all that out, I found a couple relevant dichos to share.

“Miel sobre hojuelas” is a dicho which is similar in meaning to the English saying “icing on the cake” and “No todo es miel sobre hojuelas” is similar in meaning to the English saying “It’s not all fun and games.” I searched online newspapers and found the dichos were both used in Mexican newspapers, but I don’t think the dichos are used in El Salvador, or at least Carlos said he isn’t familiar with them.

Anyway, if you’re an hermano lejano*, or just otherwise not anywhere you can buy hojuelas, below is a recipe to make your own!

[*”Hermano lejano” is an endearing term meaning “faraway brother” which is used by Salvadorans in El Salvador to refer to Salvadorans who live abroad.]

Hojuelas Salvadoreñas

2 1/2 cups pre-sifted all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup 1% milk

oil for cooking
miel de panela (recipe here), or sugar for sprinkling
extra flour for rolling out the dough

1. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, and salt.

2. Add the flour little by little, alternating with the milk, until the dough forms. The dough should not be sticky – if it is, add a little more flour.

3. Turn the dough onto a flat, floured surface, and divide into 16 balls.

Tip: I originally separated the dough into 8 balls, but soon realized that once rolled out these hojuelas (while traditionally sold on the street this large), would be too big to properly fry in my frying pan. So please, in the next step when you roll them out, make sure you’re not making them too big to fit in the frying pan you plan to use.

4. With a floured rolling pin, roll out each ball until very thin. (Ideally the dough should be rolled out thinner than a flour tortilla. It’s okay if it’s not perfectly circular, and it’s okay if the dough tears a little. They don’t have to be perfect!)

Tip: Keep your rolled out hojuelas from sticking to each other by separating them with parchment paper.

5. Over medium-high heat in a large frying pan, heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. The oil should be at least a 1/4 inch deep. (Deeper is better, but I personally hate wasting so much cooking oil.)

6. Carefully fry the hojuelas one-by-one until nicely browned on each side, flipping with tongs as necessary.

7. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain off excess oil. If sprinkling with sugar instead of serving with miel, sprinkle them while still hot.

8. Serve drizzled with miel de panela, or sprinkled with sugar.

Celebrating Día de Muertos Without Appropriating

Image source: David Seibold

Image source: David Seibold

First, to make sure we’re on the same page, let’s clearly define what is Día de muertos and what is cultural appropriation?

What is Día de muertos?

Día de muertos, also known as Día de los muertos or Day of the Dead, is a sacred celebration of Pre-Hispanic origin, to honor loved ones who have passed. The celebration, which used to start around the beginning of August and last an entire month, now takes place from midnight on October 31st to November 2nd; most often associated with Mexico, it is celebrated in many Latin American countries such as Guatemala, and Bolivia, and by people around the world with ancestry traced to those countries. Each country has unique ways of celebrating; in El Salvador where the celebration is known as Día de los Difuntos (Day of the Deceased), families go to the cemetery to pray, sing, lay flowers, and pay to have gravestones of departed family members repainted; at the cemetery you can buy foods such as tamales and hojuelas con miel. Ecuador also refers to the celebration as Día de los Difuntos.

But it is the traditions of Mexico which are most well-known in the United States, and which have gained popularity among Latinxs of all backgrounds, and non-Latinxs as well. Sugar skulls, and catrinas can be found on everything from party napkins to pajamas this time of year, and setting up ofrendas (altars) or baking pan de muerto are fast becoming beloved traditions among people who maybe 10 years ago, hadn’t even heard of Día de muertos. And, why not? Día de muertos is so pretty, so colorful, and the idea of celebrating our deceased loved ones rather than forever mourning them in a more Puritanically traditional way is appealing, (and psychologically, much healthier.)

However, this is where we run into the problem of cultural appropriation.

What is cultural appropriation?

Cultural appropriation is the “borrowing” of one culture by another culture, particularly when elements of a minority culture are used by a majority culture. Often times it is done unintentionally and/or without intended malice, but even when done with appreciation or admiration, it can be exploitative, offensive and/or feel oppressive to the minority culture who feel something is being stolen from them. Cultural appropriation is especially offensive when something sacred is taken out of context and redefined by a majority culture. (An example of this relevant to this post: When a non-Latinx person dresses as La Catrina for Halloween.)

While many Latinxs may not find it offensive when non-Latinxs folks embrace these traditions, there are some Latinxs who do. So, what steps can you take to ensure you’re respecting Día de muertos as the sacred celebration that it is?

5 Steps to Celebrating Día de Muertos Respectfully

#1. You may choose not to celebrate it, but instead observe the celebration. There are festivals, museum exhibits, documentaries, and other ways you can enjoy the holiday without actually adopting it.

#2. You can educate yourself. If you choose to celebrate by setting up an altar, for example, do the proper research into the history and significance of the ofrenda and the traditional items that are placed on it.

#3. Question your intentions. Are you painting your face as a sugar skull because it’ll look super cool and get you plenty of likes on Instagram? Then strongly reconsider your actions. These traditions are not “just for fun” or to bring yourself attention on social media — they are sacred. Respect that. If you’re the Donald Trump type who would eat a taco and declare you “love Mexicans” while supporting the deportation of the people who made it for you – don’t even think about it. It should go without saying, cherry picking a culture while not respecting the people it originated from is completely unacceptable.

#4. Shop responsibly. Avoid purchasing Día de muertos themed merchandise which is not made by Latinxs or Latin American artisans. These beliefs and traditions originated with indigenous people, and indigenous communities in Latin America are disproportionately affected by poverty. In Guatemala 86.6% of indigenous people are poor, and in Mexico 80.6% are poor. [source] The least you can do is not buy those cute Day of the Dead paper plates at Target which were Made in China. Instead, seek out fair trade products which give back to the people who deserve it.

#5. Understand that even if you have thoroughly educated yourself on the celebration and feel a special connection to it, you may still come under scrutiny. Should someone confront you on why they think you have no right to celebrate Día de muertos, consider their words and feelings. There’s a fine line between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation, and not everyone agrees where that line is. Try to do better.

Learn more:

GoMexico.About.com – Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead – Wikipedia

The Book of Life

5 Día De Los Muertos Questions You Were Too Afraid To Ask – Huffington Post

What is Cultural Appropriation and Why Is It Wrong? – RaceRelations.About.com

Cultural Appropriation – Wikipedia

The Do’s and Don’ts of Cultural Appropriation – The Atlantic

Mamá the Alien


Some of you may remember I interviewed Salvadoran children’s author René Colato Laínez here before, and today I’m excited to not only share his newest book with you, but to offer you the opportunity to win a copy of it in the giveaway below!

Mamá the Alien/Mamá la extraterrestre by René Colato Laínez, illustrated by Laura Lacámara is a bilingual book in both English and Spanish, which is something I always appreciated finding when my boys were little. I love owning books that I can read to them in either language and which are accessible to everyone in the house. I also found books like this to be an invaluable tool (for myself, and for the kids), to learn new vocabulary by comparing the two texts.

Mamá the Alien tells the story of a little girl named Sofia who discovers her mother’s “Resident Alien” card and then begins to wonder what sort of alien her mother is. Is her mother trilingual? Does she speak English, Spanish, and… Alien? The concept of this book is great because it really is a confusing concept for young children to hear this word “alien” in the media to refer to people who have come from other countries when their only frame of reference is the sci-fi outer space definition of the word.


The fun, colorful illustrations and the anticipation of wondering what Sofia will discover about her mother will be sure to keep kids interested while teaching them something new, and reassuring those who may be struggling with similar questions about a family member’s or his/her own identity.

Want to win a copy? Enter the giveaway below!


Giveaway Details

Prize description: One lucky winner will receive a copy of the book MAMA THE ALIEN by René Colato Laínez, illustrated by Laura Lacámara.

How to enter: Just leave a comment below!

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. You must be able to provide a U.S. address for prize shipment. Your name and address will only be shared with the person responsible for prize fulfillment for that purpose. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid email address in the email address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 24 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 24 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between August 19th, 2016 through August 24th, 2016. Entries received after August 24th, 2016 at 11:59 pm EST, will not be considered. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. If you win, by accepting the prize, you are agreeing that Latinaish.com assumes no liability for damages of any kind. By entering your name below you are agreeing to these Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.

Buena suerte / Good luck!

Fiesta ensalada de pollo salvadoreña para sándwiches

Sandwich de pollo salvadoreno

Divulgación: Latinaish.com se ha asociado con McCormick para llevarse recetas utilizando productos McCormick. Como siempre, todas las opiniones son mías.

Puede sorprender a algunos saber que la ensalada de pollo es popular en muchos países del mundo, a pesar de sus ingredientes varían de lo que nosotros en los Estados Unidos consideramos comunes. Unas variaciones que conozco:

Goi Ga de Vietnam cuenta con repollo, salsa de pescado, chiles picantes, y hierbabuena.
Dak-Nangchae de Corea se come en verano e incorpora un montón de verduras coloridas.
• En México mucha gente comen ensalada de pollo con galletas saladas.
Coronación ensalada de pollo de Inglaterra cuenta con curry en polvo y chutney de mango, y se hizo por primera vez en 1953 para el almuerzo de la coronación de la reina Isabel II.
• Hablando de reinas, «palta a la reina» en Perú y Chile es una ensalada de pollo servida encima de la mitad de un aguacate.
Salpicão de Frango de Brasil incluye manzana, zanahoria, pasas y aceitunas.
• Y luego está «Olivie ensalada» que se cree que es el origen de las ensaladas de pollo y ensaladas rusas. También conocida como Olivier ensalada o ensalada Olivier, hoy en día por lo general es una combinación de pollo, papas, huevo, chícharos y mayonesa con infinitas variaciones, pero cuando fue inventada en la década de 1860 por un chef llamado Lucien Olivier en Rusia, estaba hecha con ingredientes más finos, como el urogallo, alcaparras, caviar y pato ahumado en un aderezo que era un secreto muy bien guardado. Las versiones modernas de esta ensalada son muy populares en toda Europa del Este, así como en Irán, Israel, Pakistán, Mongolia, y más allá.

Con todos estos diferentes tipos de ensalada de pollo en todo el mundo no me debería haber sorprendido cuando Carlos me dijo que la ensalada de pollo es también muy popular en El Salvador, específicamente en las fiestas de cumpleaños infantiles.

Salvadoran Birthday Party Chicken Sandwich

Carlos recuerda asistir muchas fiestas de cumpleaños en su barrio cuando era un niño pequeño y con ganas de recibir un sándwich de ensalada de pollo envuelto en una servilleta de papel blanco, en el momento que entraba por la puerta. Cuando Carlos compartió este recuerdo conmigo, decidí tratar de recrear los sándwiches de su infancia. Con sus sugerencias, esta es la receta que he desarrollado y él dice que sabe a la perfección!

El uso de pechugas de pollo de calidad, cocinadas a fuego lento con verduras frescas garantiza que la carne salga jugosa y sabrosa. Desmenuzado y mezclado con McCormick Mayonesa con jugo de limón que añade sabor tradicional, especias, y algunos toques de salsa Worcestershire – esta ensalada de pollo sabe mejor fría y comida al día siguiente, pero será difícil esperar. Deliciosa en suaves rebanadas de pan blanco, puedes quitar las cortezas, si quieres. Pero no importa cómo decidas comerla, esta ensalada de pollo al estilo salvadoreño es bastante exquisita para servir en fiestas de cumpleaños, pero es bastante fácil que no tienes que esperar una ocasión especial; puedes hacerla cualquier día y disfrutar con tu familia.



Cumpleaños Ensalada de Pollo

Fiesta ensalada de pollo salvadoreña para sándwiches


3 pechugas grandes de pollo, sin piel, sin hueso
1 cebolla mediana, cortado en cuartos
1 chile verde mediano, sin semillas y cortado en trozos grandes
1 tomate Roma, cortado en cuartos
1 cucharada de ajo picado
1 cucharadita de sal
1 cucharadita de McCormick pimienta negra molida

2 tazas de McCormick Mayonesa con jugo de limón
1 cucharadita de mostaza amarilla
¼ cucharadita de McCormick pimienta negra molida
½ cucharadita de McCormick ajo en polvo
½ cucharadita de McCormick cebolla en polvo
½ cucharadita de salsa Worcestershire


1. Añadir los primeros siete ingredientes en una olla grande a fuego medio-alto con agua suficiente para cubrir. Poner a hervir y luego reducir el fuego a fuego lento. Cubrir la olla ligeramente con la tapa. Ajustar el fuego si es necesario para mantenerlo a fuego lento hasta que el pollo esté bien cocido.

Consejo: Evite hervir o cocinar el pollo demasiado tiempo ya que esto hará que la carne esté muy seca. Cocer a fuego lento mantiene la carne húmeda. Tienes poco tiempo? Utilice pechugas de pollo delgadas o «chicken tenders» – se cocinan más rápido!

2. Retirar el pollo y poner en un plato para enfriar. Una vez frío, desmenuzar con la mano en trozos pequeños y colóquelos en un recipiente grande.

3. Mezclar la mayonesa, la mostaza, la pimienta, el ajo en polvo, cebolla en polvo, y la salsa Worcestershire hasta que estén bien combinados en un recipiente mediano.

4. En el recipiente grande mezclar la mezcla de mayonesa poco a poco con el pollo hasta que consigas la cremosidad deseada. En mi opinión es mejor usar aproximadamente 1/3 taza de la mezcla de mayonesa por cada 1 taza de pollo desmenuzado.

5. Enfriar en el refrigerador al menos una hora o durante la noche para permitir que los sabores se combinan. Servir la ensalada de pollo entre rebanadas de pan blanco.

Opcional: Agregar rebanadas de pepino, una hoja de lechuga romana, o cualquier ingrediente que te gusta en el sándwich. Algunas personas también les gusta cortar las cortezas del pan y envolver cada sándwich en una servilleta para servir en las fiestas.

Rinde aproximadamente 6 tazas de ensalada de pollo.

¿Quiere más recetas así? Visita www.McCormick.com/espanol!

Want this recipe in English? Click here.

Salvadoran Chicken Salad Birthday Party Sandwiches

Sandwich de pollo salvadoreno

Disclosure: Latinaish.com has partnered with McCormick to bring you recipes using McCormick products. As always, all opinions are my own.

It may surprise some to know that chicken salad is popular in many countries throughout the world, although its ingredients vary from what those of us in the United States consider the norm. A few variations I know of:

Goi Ga from Vietnam features cabbage, fish sauce, spicy chilies, and mint.
Dak-Nangchae from Korea is eaten in the summer and incorporates plenty of colorful vegetables.
Ensalada de Pollo from Mexico is often eaten on Saltine crackers.
Coronation chicken salad from England features curry powder and mango chutney, and was first made in 1953 for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation lunch.
Peruvian and Chilean “palta a la reina” is chicken salad served atop an avocado half.
Salpicão de Frango from Brazil includes apple, carrot, raisins, and olives.
• And then there’s Salad Olivie, which is believed to be the origin of chicken salads and Russian salads. Also known as Salad Olivier or Olivier Salad, these days it’s usually a combination of chicken, potato, egg, green peas, and mayonnaise with endless variations, but when it was invented in the 1860’s by a restaurant chef named Lucien Olivier in Russia, it was made with fancier ingredients such as grouse, capers, caviar, and smoked duck in a dressing which was a closely guarded secret. Modern versions of this salad are popular throughout Eastern Europe, as well as in Iran, Israel, Pakistan, Mongolia, and beyond.

With all these different types of chicken salad from around the world I shouldn’t have been so surprised when Carlos first told me that chicken salad is also popular in El Salvador, specifically at children’s birthday parties.

Salvadoran Birthday Party Chicken Sandwich

Carlos remembers attending many birthday parties in his neighborhood as a little boy and looking forward to being handed a chicken salad sandwich wrapped in a white paper napkin when he walked through the door. When he shared this memory with me, I decided to try to recreate the birthday party sandwiches of his childhood. With his input, this is the recipe I developed and he says it tastes just right!

Using quality chicken breasts which are slow-simmered with fresh vegetables ensures the meat is moist and flavorful. Shredded and mixed with McCormick Mayonnaise with Lime Juice which adds traditional sabor, spices, and a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce – this chicken salad tastes even better chilled and eaten the next day, but it’ll be difficult to wait. Spoon it onto slices of soft, white bread and cut off the crusts if you like. However you eat it, this Salvadoran-style chicken salad is yummy enough to serve at birthday parties, but easy enough that you don’t have to wait for a special occasion to whip up a batch for your family.



Cumpleaños Ensalada de Pollo

(Want this recipe en español? Click here.)

Salvadoran Chicken Salad Birthday Party Sandwiches


3 large chicken breasts, skinless, boneless
1 medium onion, quartered
1 medium green pepper, seeded and cut in large pieces
1 Roma tomato, quartered
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon McCormick black pepper

2 cups McCormick Mayonnaise with Lime Juice
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
¼ teaspoon McCormick black pepper
½ teaspoon McCormick garlic powder
½ teaspoon McCormick onion powder
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


1. Add first seven ingredients to a large pot over medium high heat with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil then reduce heat so it’s at a slow simmer. Cover loosely. Adjust heat lower if needed to keep it at a simmer until chicken is cooked through.

Tip: Avoid boiling or over-cooking the chicken as this will result in the meat being dry. Simmering keeps the meat moister. Short on time? Use chicken tenders instead of chicken breasts – they cook faster!

2. Remove chicken to a plate to cool. Once cool, shred by hand into small bite-size pieces and place into a large bowl.

3. Mix the mayonnaise, mustard, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and Worcestershire sauce until well combined in a medium-sized bowl.

4. In the large bowl mix the mayonnaise mixture a little at a time into shredded chicken until desired creaminess is achieved. I found it tastes best to use about 1/3 cup mayonnaise mixture for every 1 cup shredded chicken.

5. Chill for at least one hour or overnight to allow flavors to combine. Serve chicken salad between slices of white bread.

Optional: Add slices of cucumber, a leaf of romaine lettuce, or whatever toppings you like to the sandwich. Some people also like to cut off the crusts and wrap each sandwich in a napkin when serving at parties.

Yields approximately 6 cups chicken salad.

For more recipes like this, visit www.McCormick.com/Espanol!

Canticos – Los Pollitos / Little Chickies


I’m really excited to share this new book collection and app with you guys because it’s adorable and amazing in every way. By the end of this post, you’ll see what I mean.

The book series and apps are part of a project called Canticos which brings to life some of the most beloved Latin American nursery rhymes and children’s songs; it’s a project created by two Latino families with roots in Venezuela, Colombia, The Dominican Republic, and El Salvador, with a mission to develop products and stories that would share their culture and language with today’s kids.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the song that inspired the first book in the series, LOS POLLITOS / LITTLE CHICKIES by Susie Jaramillo which is based on “Los Pollitos Dicen” (pío, pío, pío!) – But the song hasn’t just been transformed into an adorable bilingual lift-the-flap book, there’s an educational app [available for iOS and android], and sing-along videos to go with it.

The sturdy reversible book is quite ingenious in the way it folds out, with one side being Spanish and the other side in English. The illustrations are super cute, and to be honest I thought I couldn’t fall more in love with this project until I tried the app.

Let me tell you, when I was first contacted to review these products I told them I’d review it because I knew my readers with young children would love it, but my own kids are much too old. Yet, when I downloaded the app and started playing it, my 14 year old son appeared beside me and within seconds was asking if he could play with it, too. Jajaja… Here’s a video to give you an idea of what the app is like. My favorite part of it is where you can hear the song “Los Pollitos Dicen” not just in English and Spanish, but in French, Portuguese, Italian, Japanese, and several other languages!


All the singers in each language sing so lovely, which is nice, because sometimes with these musical bilingual products I’m not that impressed with the voice. These are voices I would actually enjoy listening to if I had a little kid playing the song over and over again, as little kids tend to do.

The app also has this fun little game called “Create a Bouquet” where you add flower blooms and other objects to flower stems and it’s just so pretty. All I can tell you is that when you check out Canticos, you will see how much heart and soul was put into it. By the way, for every Canticos book purchased, the company will donate a portion of the proceeds to preschool programs across the U.S. to help low-income families in need.

Here’s a link to learn more about Canticos, as well as a giveaway so you can enter to win a copy of the book and app!


Giveaway Details

Prize description: One lucky winner will receive a copy of the book LOS POLLITOS / LITTLE CHICKIES by Susie Jaramillo, as well as a download code for the app.

How to enter: Leave a comment below with your favorite nursery rhyme (Latin American or otherwise!)

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. You must be able to provide a U.S. address for prize shipment. Your name and address will only be shared with the person responsible for prize fulfillment for that purpose. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid email address in the email address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 24 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 24 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between July 26th, 2016 through July 31st, 2016. Entries received after July 31st, 2016 at 11:59 pm EST, will not be considered. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. If you win, by accepting the prize, you are agreeing that Latinaish.com assumes no liability for damages of any kind. By entering your name below you are agreeing to these Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.

Buena suerte / Good luck!

Whistle Speakers of the Chinantec Language


While it’s only anecdotal, I can say in my own experience I’ve noticed the Latin Americans I know use whistling a lot more than any other group. There are whistles to get people’s attention, whistles of appreciation, and whistles the equivalent of cursing someone out, just to name a few. And Carlos, for example, is able to whistle through his lips, through his teeth, or with his first two fingers in his mouth to produce different pitches and tones.

Over the years I’ve recognized the usefulness of these whistles to get each other’s attention in crowds where shouting might be too harsh. Sometimes when we grocery shop and Carlos goes off to get an item, I’ll have moved on to another aisle before he gets back. I can see him from a distance looking around for me, but he doesn’t see me – so I whistle, and just like that, he’s able to locate me. It’s interesting to note that just like one’s voice is unique, so too is their whistle. Carlos has whistled in a crowd and instantly I knew it was him because of the tone, just as if he had called my name.

So, when I learned that there are actual whistled languages, I was fascinated, but not surprised. Whistle languages can be found around the world, and many exist or existed in Latin America. In the foggy, mountainous terrain of San Pedro Sochiapam in Oaxaca, Mexico, the male speakers of Chinantec speak a whistled version of the language.

The sad thing about this language, like many indigenous languages, is that it’s in danger of dying. While women understand it, and some children speak a little of it, most of the people of the town don’t use the language like the older generation did. Reasons for declining use of whistled Chinantec range from the fact that children learn Spanish in school and they don’t work in the fields, to advancements in technology such as walkie talkies, megaphones, and telephones. According to Dr. Mark Sicoli, Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University, the whistled language “may be gone from this community within ten years.”

Watch this interesting and beautiful episode of “In the Americas with David Yetman” called “Chiflidos en la neblina” [Whistles in the mist] to learn more about the whistle speakers of the Chinantec language in Oaxaca, Mexico.

And here’s another, shorter video on the same town which ends on a happier note, as it seems some of the younger generation have taken it upon themselves to not only learn the language and use it, but are planning to teach it to others.

Related Links

Other episodes of In The Americas with David Yetman are just as great. The website is here, which includes video highlights of each season.

Hat tip: OpenCulture.com

Learn more about other whistled languages on Wikipedia

In a Remote Mexican Town People Can Communicate by Whistling on Fusion.net