Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Still missing the food in Panama, I thought I'd try my hand at making another of their signature dishes, Carimanolas. Well, I failed. I tried to fry the little yuca fritters and they basically disintegrated in the $20 worth of sacred coconut oil they were meant to fry in. It was a kitchen disaster. Then I regrouped, came up with a new plan and they turned out great!

I think my problem was that I got too brisket-happy with these things. My biggest complaint of the authentic Panamanian ones was that there wasn't enough stuffing. What can I say? I wanted to stuff these with the most meat possible! I guess there's a reason they don't do that in Panama...
Brisket Carimañolas
makes 16
1 large yuca root (about 1 pound)
2 cups leftover brisket, chopped fine
1/4 cup coconut oil
BBQ sauce, for serving

First, you peel the yuca and chop it into chunks. Boil them for about 15 minutes, until they are fork tender. Drain them in a pretty red colander like this one. I got this at our holiday prop swap party for the Austin Food Blogger Alliance. I know-- it's awesome. I got the best prize. 
Mash or process the yuca with 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mash it really well until its smooth. Form the mixture into a disk. Chop the disk into 16 even pieces.
Working quickly (these are easier to form when they're a little warm), grab a piece and form it into a small disk in the palm of your hand. Stuff with about a Tablespoon of brisket, then bundle it up, sealing the seam well. Repeat with the remaining pieces and brisket.

 Lay the pieces on a foil-lined cookie sheet.

Preheat your oven to 425º. Melt 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil in a small bowl. Brush the carimanolas very well on both sides with the oil. Sprinkle with salt. Roast the carimanolas in the oven for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through, until they are golden brown on both sides. Serve with barbeque sauce. 


  1. Just a comment: the correct spelling is yuca. Yucca refers to a decorative plant- they grow here in my Sonoran Desert and I'm sure elsewhere too. You can eat the flowers and fruits. But yuca, is the tropical tuber vegetable that you use here that is similar to a potato. Just thought I'd let you know. I've seen this mistake a lot! :)

    1. Thank you, Brittaney, so much for bringing that to my attention! I thought that it looked funny! I will remember that from now on =)

  2. This looks very much like how tamales are mad, except that they are baked. Could you not also wrap them in a corn husk and steam them? I live in Mexico. I can get lots of corn husks.

    1. You could definitely wrap these in corn husks! It actually may be less work doing it that way-- no need to perfect the bundle! I'm going to try this. Thanks for the idea!

  3. Would there be any way to post a video showing how to do it? I just tried to make them and failed miserably.


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