Venezuelan Ripe Plantain Fried Donuts with White Cheese (Mandocas)

The first time I ate mandocas, I was in Caracas. In the house of  Marielita Colmenares’s mom, to be precise. Mariela and her mom are from Maracaibo, Zulia state, in Western Venezuela.

And so are the mandocas.
I don’t need to say this was love at first bite.
Something that's made out of ripe plantains, arepa flour, cheese and papelón (panela or piloncillo), and it's deep-fried, can only be a delight.
I learned to make them with Marta Malena, the sweetest and most indulgent of the nannies I had.
Malena was from the Colombian Guajira, but lived in Maracaibo for a while and she used to fry mandocas all the time.
The only “problem” with these mandocas is that you have to fry them...
Although everything fried tastes heavenly, I try to avoid frying food.
From time to time, I succumb to the temptation.
We love them so much that they literally “fly” from the kitchen and barely make it to the dinning table.
I hope you like my recipe.
Ripe Plantain Mandocas | Ingredients
1 ripe plantain peeled and cut into three
1 ½ cup of yellow arepa flour (I used Harina PAN)
1 cup grated white cheese (I use Cotija)
½ cup of papelón (piloncillo or panela) grated
1 cup of water (you can use water used to boil the plantain)
Vegetable oil for frying
Grated white fresh cheese (queso fresco)
(Salt is not necessary because Cotija cheese is salty enough)

In a pot with water to cover the plantains, boil them until soft.

In a heavy pot or cauldron, put plenty of oil for deep-frying, and heat it over medium-high heat.

In a bowl add the arepa flour, Cotija cheese and grated papelón and mix with a fork.

Cut the plantain lengthwise and remove and discard veins and seeds. Use a fork to make a puree.

Add the mashed plantain and water and knead until smooth dough forms. Let stand for 5 minutes.

On a clean surface with your hands form dough rolls, ¼ inch thick and 4 inches long.

Match both ends of the rolls and form the donuts.

Deep-fry the mandocas. I prefer to fry one at a time to prevent burning.
Once the mandocas are golden-brown, them on paper towels.
Serve hot with grated fresh cheese.

To print the recipe, click here.

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