Ask Chef Yadira

Question from Alya, North Carolina

When I fry carimanolas, they tend to break-up or pop and I am not sure why?


Carimanolas tend to have a mind of their own. Below are a few tips to make sure when making and when ready to fry:

  1. make sure that the ends of your carimanolas are pointed and not rounded
  2. do not overcook the yuca, it will make the dough too soft and will not withstand the heat from the oil when frying
  3. do not overcrowd the pan, that will cause the temperature to lower causing a soggy carimanola that could possibly pop open

Question from Paul, DC

What can I do to prevent crying when cutting onions?


I have found that placing onions in the freezer for an hour before cutting really works for me and avoids tears.  However, someone told me that placing a matches between their teeth also works (I have not tried this personally). Another trick is placing a piece of bread between my front teeth with my mouth slightly open; this works because the spongy texture of the bread absorbed some of those noxious gases before they have the chance to float up to your nose and eyes

Question from JH, Minnesota

I always have a hard time when peeling green plantain. Is there an easy way to peel it?


Cut off both ends and place plantain in a pot of boiling water for about 8 minutes. Remove with tongs. Let cool for a few seconds and skin should peel off easily

Question from P., Georgia

Isn't the Chicheme Frio and the hot Chicheme one in the same, just that one is cold and the other is hot?


Although both the cold and hot Chicheme contain the same exact ingredients, they do not just differ by temperature. Their preparation method is unique, resulting in two different products - one is a cold and light drink, and the other is a hot and thick porridge. The only preparation step that they have in common is that both require to first cook/boil the hominy corn (maiz trillado) for 1-1/2 hours. Once the corn is cooked, the preparation method changes for each one: the cold Chicheme is finished in a blender vs. the hot Chicheme is finished on the stove in the same pot where the corn was cooked.