Yaniqueque or Yanikeke are the epitome of Dominican street and beach food. It’s really hard to say where its name and origins lie. They are thought to come from the Johnny Cake or Shawnee Cakes of the native inhabitants from the Atlantic seaboard of North America, which are still popular today in New England.
It is said, that sometime in the 1900’s, a variation of the Johnny Cake made its way to the Dominican Republic via the “Cocolos”, “Turquilanes” and “Santomeros”. In other words, Afro-Caribbean descendants that migrated from other non Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands.
The main difference between Yaniqueque and Johnny Cakes is that Yaniqueque’s are made of flour and Johnny Cakes are generally made from corn flour. Recipes do vary from island to island in the Caribbean and even slightly from region to region within the Dominican
What I know for certain is that this flaky and crispy fried bread is delicious as a snack or an appetizer. It can be eaten sprinkled with sea salt, or cinnamon and sugar, even dunk it in hot chocolate for breakfast, nonetheless, it is more commonly served with Ketchup.
- 2 cups of all purpose flour (additional for working dough)
- 3 tablespoons of melted butter
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ½ cup of cold water (may not use all)
- 2 cups of oil for frying
- Into a medium size bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Add the melted butter and mix well.
- Add the water in stages until your dough is easy to handle and no longer sticky. Shape into small bough balls and let dough rest for 20 minutes.
- Roll out your dough on a flowered surface until you form 1/8 thin circles. They don’t have to be perfect. The thinner you roll them out, the crispier it will be.
- Score with two or three slits in the center or you can crimp the edges and poke with a fork several times. It’s really more a matter of esthetics.
- Preheat oil at medium heat. Fry the dough in the hot oil until golden brown. Once fried, let rest on paper towels to remove excess oil.
This dough yields anywhere from 8 to 10 big yaniqueque’s or about 18 to 20 appetizer size.
Tip: You can also use this dough for empanadas.