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.]
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.