Cunape (Cheese Bread Balls)

by Jin Yoo-Kim
(Los Angeles, CA)

THIS IS WHAT A PROPERLY SHAPED  BAKED CUÑAPE LOOKS LIKE.

THIS IS WHAT A PROPERLY SHAPED BAKED CUÑAPE LOOKS LIKE.

In English and in Spanish (below). I've tried this so many times and it works! It's also tasty too. Here's the recipe in both languages:

1 cup yucca (tapioca) starch (you can get this in Latin or Mexican stores)

1 Round (3 cups) of Mexican cheese like Queso Fresco or fresh mozzarella balls (you'll want to use a fresh cheese that crumbles, not a string cheese)

1 egg, beaten

SALT

Milk or water as needed and only if the dough is too dry (explanation below)

Crumble the cheese into a big mixing bowl (it should crumble easily) and add the yucca starch and egg and a pinch of salt. Knead it with your hands until you have a dough-like consistency.

(At this point, if it's too dry, you can add some milk or water, 1 teaspoon at a time, and only enough to create a "dough" that is not wet and sticky).

Make them into little balls, about 2 inches in size. Use your thumb to poke an indentation into each ball. (You don't want to make a hole all the way through like a donut, just an indentation). Place the cheese balls with the indented side down, onto a greased and floured pan or non stick pan. Let it sit for 15 minutes.

Pre-heat your oven to 375F (190C). Bake them in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until they are a toasty golden color (see above photo).

Do one batch first. If it comes out too cheesy, then add more starch, 1 tbsp. at a time.

Receta en Español

Cuñape:
1 taza de almidón de yuca
3 tazas de queso fresco
1 huevo
Leche o agua si es necesario (si está muy seco)

Rayar el queso, mezclar con el almidón de yuca y agregar el huevo batido. Hacer una masa con las manos. La consistencia debe ser blanda. Agregue un poquito de agua o leche (una cucharada a la vez) si es necesario para que la masa se ablande, pero no debe quedar muy líquida o pegajosa).

Haga unas bolitas de aprox. 5 centímetros, haciéndoles un pequeño hueco con el dedo por debajo y póngalas en una bandeja para hornear. Déjelas reposar quince minutos antes de hornearlas.

Mientras tanto, ir calentando el horno a 375F (190C). Ponga en horno caliente por 15-20 mins o hasta que los cuñapés salgan doraditos.


Bolivian Recipes | Recetas Bolivianas en Español | Bolivian Food Forum

Comments for Cunape (Cheese Bread Balls)

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Jun 29, 2017
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
About yuca
by: Anonymous

In the countries where speak english the Yucca or Manioc Starch is also known as Tapioca Flour. Several places where I tried to find it had that name and a lot of people didn't known and Manioc or Yucca. Also easy to find at mexican stores in EEUU.

------------------
Thank you for that tip!
=)
Bella

Feb 09, 2017
Rating
starstarstarstar
Came out fantasically with some easy recipe changes
by: Anonymous

These came out great, but we made some changes.

1. Replaced yucca with wheat flour 1:1
2. Used 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
3. Added about 1/2 cup of milk

Everyone loved them, and I would definitely make them again.

Oct 01, 2016
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
using a straw
by: Anonymous

I have made this recipe numerous times and I find using a straw to make the little depressions in the bottom make it easier to do and the dough does not get wasted on your hands--they will puff up nicely using this method! enjoy

May 06, 2016
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Why they flattened
by: Anonymous

The cuñapes flattened probably because the oven wasn't hot enough. Should be very hot, around 500 degrees (US).

Nov 12, 2015
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Temperature?
by: Anonymous

350 *F? 375*F? 400*F? hot oven, caliente is different in many places anyone???????

Oct 09, 2015
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
using crushed tapioca?
by: Anonymous

I have pearl tapioca,i think it's made of yucca, can i crush and use as yucca starch?

Jan 02, 2015
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Yucca (manioc) starch?
by: Anonymous

Hello, My husband is from Bolivia and he asked me to make these. Where do you buy yucca (manioc) starch? I've tried Fresh Market, Publix, and Walmart. Would it work with all purpose flour?
Thank you.

-----------------
In response:

Yucca starch is called TAPIOCA STARCH in English. Try WholeFoods or Trader Joe's. You can also try finding it at some of the more ethnic food markets, like Mexican food stores. It doesn't work with regular flour as starch is much, much finer and lighter.

Dec 12, 2014
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
No baking powder
by: Anonymous

Cunapes do not ever use baking powder.

Nov 30, 2014
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
flat cunapes
by: Anonymous

the cunapes flattened, because the recipe needs a teaspoon of baking powder!

Sep 06, 2013
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Miss the Bolivian food
by: Anonymous

I am brazilian and I miss the cuñapés a lot. I just wanted to know why they are a little sweet.
I lived in Sta. Cruz for 6 years and I learned to love that place.
I remember the cuñapé, the Salteña, and the Ceviche...
How I miss it...

Aug 13, 2013
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
What to do so cuñapes won't flatten
by: BoliviaBella.com

My best friend's mom taught me to make cuñapes one afternoon and I asked her exactly the same question. So she taught me first to roll the little ball of dough between your hands and then you take one thumb and push it upwards into the dough making a deep dent or hollow in the dough. You then place this hollow part downward on the baking pan. When the cuñapes are baking, they will rise more this way instead of flattening. Even though most of the time the hollow part will "fill in" during baking, cuñapes will form a little "peak" upward.

You may have noticed that in some bakeries the cuñapes even have a little bubble at the very top and are a little bit pointy. You know a baker is a real cuñape expert if they have that little bubbled pointy peak because that's what gave the cuñape it's name in the first place. As I mentioned below, the name "cuñapé" is a Guaraní word that is actually two words combined. Cuñá means "woman" and "pé" means breast.

Let me know how you do on your next batch!
Bella

Aug 12, 2013
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
What can I do so cuñapes won't flatten?
by: K

My canapés flatten as soon as they come out of the oven. They taste OK but don't look so great. Any suggestions? Thanks

Dec 11, 2011
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
How many?
by: Anonymous

How many cunapes does this recipe make?
Also can you eat this cold?

Response: Depending on how large you make them, this recipe makes between 2-3 dozen. Yes, you can eat them cold. They will keep well for 2-3 days. However, they are softer when warm.

Sep 17, 2010
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
good stuff
by: Anonymous

these are good. get these and it will feel like you are in heaven.

May 07, 2010
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
The origins of the cunape
by: BoliviaBella

The cuñapé is native to the eastern region of Bolivia and is also known in some parts of Brazil. It is usually eaten at tea time.

The name "cuñapé" is a Guaraní word that is actually two words combined. Cuñá means "woman" and "pé" means breast. Sometimes when cuñapés are baked they form a little bubble or tip that rises out of the center causing the cuñapé to look like a woman's breast.

Traditionally, Bolivians eat salty baked items at tea time much more often than sweet things. Here in Eastern Bolivia most of these baked goods are made from locally available products and yucca (manioc) is one of the most plentiful! It grows very easily, very quickly and very large in Bolivia, so it's used in many ways because it can be ground into a very fine flour (yuca starch), boiled, baked, fried or deep fried. Yucca is as versatile as a potato and as common to meals and snacks in Eastern Bolivia as potatoes are in Western Bolivia. This is why baked goods like cuñapés are so popular, along with others, like zonzo.

May 07, 2010
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
history of cheeseballs
by: bolivian bella

what is the history of cheese balls (how did they become popular)

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Bolivian Food.