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

Día de Los Muertos – book giveaway!

Dia de los Muertos book

It’s Día de Los Muertos, the sun’s coming round,
as niños prepare in each pueblo and town.
For today we will honor our dearly departed
with celebraciones – it’s time to get started!

So begins the fun, rhyming picture book, DIA DE LOS MUERTOS by Roseanne Greenfield Thong illustrated by Carles Ballesteros. I loved everything about this book, from the way it’s written in Spanglish which helps teach vocabulary related to the holiday, (a glossary is included) – to the colorful illustrations.

I think you guys will love this book too, so I’m excited to be able to offer one for giveaway. See details to enter below!

—GIVEAWAY CLOSED—

Giveaway Details

Prize description: One lucky winner will receive a copy of the book DIA DE LOS MUERTOS by Roseanne Greenfield Thong illustrated by Carles Ballesteros.

How to enter: Just leave a comment below telling me what you’re favorite part of Día de los Muertos is! (Please read official rules below before entering.)

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 October 28, 2015 through November 2nd, 2015. Entries received after November 2nd, 2015 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!

Hispanic Heritage Month 2015 Photo Challenge: Day #1

hhm15foto

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! And Happy Independence Day to Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua today, as well as an early feliz día de independencia to Mexico and Chile.

I’ll be participating in the “15 Days of Hispanic Heritage” photo challenge over on Instagram hosted by ¿Qué Means What? and The Nueva Latina. If you want to participate, just use the hashtag #HHM15Foto and take a photo for the given theme on each day! Here’s my photo and caption from Instagram for Day #1: Yo/Me

hhm-day-1-latinaish

It’s the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month, and the first day of the #HHM15FOTO challenge! Today’s challlenge is yo/me, so aquí estoy. I am not Latina by birth, but by corazón. I love my Salvadoran husband’s culture almost as much as I love him, and I love mis dos hijos who are orgullosamente 1/2 Salvadoran. I support #HispanicHeritageMonth because I don’t want my husband or my sons to ever forget their roots… (and also, I’m here for the free pupusas. #kiddingnotkidding)

Salvadoran Nuégados

nuegados

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

Known as “buñuelos” in much of Latin America, El Salvador calls these traditional Easter fritters “nuégados” and they’re almost always accompanied by a toasted corn drink called “chilate.” There are many different varieties of nuégados with the most popular one being nuégados de yuca, but a Salvadoran acquaintance recently introduced me to nuégados de guineo (banana nuégados), which are much easier to make. The banana imparts a very delicate taste to the fried donuts which makes them delicious on their own, but they’re even more amazing with homemade Salvadoran “miel” (syrup) drizzled over top.

Here’s my recipe, and then down below, enter for your chance to win a $50 gift card from Nestlé!

For additional recipes, visit ElMejorNido.com.

nuegados con chilate

Salvadoran Banana Fritters / Nuégados Salvadoreños en Miel

Ingredients:
2 cups canola oil, for frying
1 cup flour
2 large ripe bananas, peeled
1/4 cup NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Lowfat 2% Milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Directions:

COMBINE flour and bananas in a medium bowl. Use a fork or hands to mash the bananas well and mix them thoroughly into the flour.

ADD the evaporated milk, vanilla extract, and salt. Stir to combine.

DROP spoonfuls of the dough into a large pot of medium-hot oil. Use metal tongs to carefully and continuously splash oil on top of each fritter, and to turn each fritter when it becomes golden brown. Cook only a few at a time so you don’t overcrowd them.

REMOVE each fritter to drain on a paper towel-lined plate when golden brown on both sides.

SERVE warm and with syrup drizzled on top, if desired. (Makes about 1 dozen.)

nuegados salvadorenos

nuégados en miel con chilate

Salvadoran Syrup (“Miel”)

Ingredients:

14 ounces of panela or piloncillo*
3 cups water
10 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

*If you’re unable to find panela, or piloncillo, you can substitute 2 cups of dark brown sugar.

Directions:

COMBINE all ingredients in a medium pot over medium-high heat.

BRING to a boil, stirring occasionally. The panela will melt and break up on its own. No need to force it.

BOIL for a few minutes, stirring when necessary to keep it from boiling over.

LOWER heat and simmer for a few more minutes until the liquid thickens slightly. Dip a spoon in and watch the way it coats the spoon and drips off it. This will give you an idea of whether it has thickened a little.

REMOVE from heat and allow to cool slightly. The syrup will thicken a little bit more upon cooling.

SERVE drizzled over Salvadoran Banana Fritters. Keep any unused portion refrigerated in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Salvadoran fritters

***GIVEAWAY CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO JAIME!***

Giveaway Details

Prize description: One lucky winner will receive a $50 gift card.

How to enter: Just leave a comment below telling me your favorite Easter food. (Please read official rules below before entering.)

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 PR agency 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 March 30, 2015 through April 3rd, 2015. Entries received after April 3rd, 2015 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!

Torrejas Salvadoreñas en Miel

Torrejas

Torrejas are kind of like French Toast and in El Salvador as well as in other parts of Latin America, they’re eaten during Semana Santa (holy week, Lent, and Easter), with a special homemade syrup. One of the things that make Torrejas more amazing than your average homemade American French Toast is that after it’s fried to a golden brown, it’s cooked a second time in the syrup. The type of bread used is also important, as your common white sandwich bread will not do! Salvadorans use thick slices of a bread called “torta de yema” but it’s difficult to find in the United States. Good substitutes for torta de yema include Challah or “pan de leche” (milk bread.) Challah can be found at some grocery stores and the “pan de leche” I used for this recipe was from a Latina bakery.

Another ingredient I want to explain a little is the “dulce de panela.” Panela is an unrefined brown sugar and it looks like this:

dulce de panela
(Wrapped in plastic)

dulce de panela
(Wrapped in dried corn husks)

dulce de panela
(Salvadoran “panela”)

If you’re unable to find Salvadoran “panela” at your local Mercado Latino or International Market, then you can substitute about two 8 ounce Mexican piloncillos or about 2 cups of dark brown sugar.

Ready for the most amazing French Toast experience of your life? Then you’re ready to make Salvadoran Torrejas en Miel!

Torrejas Salvadoreñas en Miel

Torrejas Salvadoreñas en Miel

First, How to make the “miel” (syrup):

You need:

1/2 of a 28 oz. panela (So, about 14 ounces. For substitutions see post above.)
3 cups water
10 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. (The panela will melt and break up on its own. No need to force it.)

2. Boil for a few minutes, stirring when necessary to keep it from boiling over.

3. Lower heat and simmer for a few more minutes until the liquid thickens slightly. (Dip a spoon in and watch the way it coats the spoon and drips off it. This will give you an idea of whether it has thickened a little. Note that the liquid is a thinner consistency than American-style syrup or honey – that’s okay!)

4. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. (The liquid will thicken a little bit more upon cooling.)

5. Now this is ready for the Torrejas! Set aside and continue below.

How to make the Torrejas:

You need:

2 tortas de yema (or 2 loaves of Challah, or milk bread/pan de leche)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 cups 1% milk
8 eggs

Canola oil for frying
a batch of “miel” (the recipe above)

1. Slice the bread into thick slices, (about 1 inch thick or a little more.)

2. In a large shallow dish, beat the eggs, milk, salt and sugar until well combined. (You can use an electric mixer for about 1 minute.)

3. Dip the bread slices into the egg/milk mixture one-by-one, allowing them a few seconds on each side to soak up the liquid. Fry in oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan, being careful not to crowd the slices in the pan. (My pan only fit two pieces at a time.) Flip when golden brown and cook the other side the same.

4. When each slice is golden brown on both sides, remove to a large rectangular baking dish or Pyrex lined with paper towels to absorb some of the oil.

5. Preheat oven to 350 F.

6. When the entire batch has been fried, carefully remove the paper towels from beneath the torrejas.

7. Some people cook the torrejas in a frying pan with the miel, but I find baking them works great and is much easier. Pour 1 cup of the miel onto the torrejas in the Pyrex, making sure that all get some of the “miel” on them. (Avoid including any of the cloves.)

8. Bake at 350 F for 5 to 10 minutes.

9. Serve with additional miel to drizzle on top.

Note: You will probably have leftover miel. This can be put into a jar and refrigerated. Use it in other recipes such as Jocotes en Miel or Nuegados!

Torrejas Salvadoreñas

Corazones de Pañito para Día de San Valentín

doily-hearts

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

¿Necesitas una manualidad rapida y accesible para el Día de San Valentín? Estos corazones de papel en forma de pañito sólo cuestan $1 por paquete de 30 en la tienda Dollar Tree. Con un marcador de cualquier color que te guste, puedes escribir cortos mensajes en cada uno y después decorar el carro, oficina o puerta para tu amado.

Aquí hay unas frases que puedes escribir. (¡También sirve como lección de español si quieres hacer la manualidad con los niños!)

Te Quiero
Te Quiero Mucho
TQM
Te Amo
Te Adoro
Nene/Nena
Corazón
Corazón de Melon
Guapo/Guapa
Chulo/Chula
Bonito/Bonita
Amor
Amorcito Corazón
Cielito Lindo
Bésame
Besos
Abrazos
Se Mío
Papi Chulo/Mami Chula
Te Amo Un Chingo
Tú y Yo
Para Siempre

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

Title: Doily Hearts for Valentine’s Day

Do you need a fast and affordable craft for Valentine’s Day? These paper doily hearts are only $1 for a pack of 30 at Dollar Tree. With a colored marker you can write short messages on each heart and then decorate the car, office, or door of your beloved.

Here are some phrases in Spanish you can write. (This also serves as a Spanish lesson if you do the craft with the kids!)

Te Quiero
Te Quiero Mucho
TQM
Te Amo
Te Adoro
Nene/Nena
Corazón
Corazón de Melon
Guapo/Guapa
Chulo/Chula
Bonito/Bonita
Amor
Amorcito Corazón
Cielito Lindo
Bésame
Besos
Abrazos
Se Mío
Papi Chulo/Mami Chula
Te Amo Un Chingo
Tú y Yo
Para Siempre