Carimañolas de Carne o Queso

Beef or Cheese Yuca Turnovers

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • 12


Appears in

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

By Patricia McCausland-Gallo

Published 2004

  • About

Carimañolas are very special to me. They are the dish we ate at home the night my husband told my parents we were getting married. He is from Cali and does not actually like carimañolas, but he bravely ate them that night with lots and lots of water. They are very popular throughout the country, but especially in the coastal areas; in other parts, they are called Pasteles de Yuca, as you will. You can exchange the fillings with other meats and make your own creations; yuca has a neutral flavor so it is very adaptable.


  • 2 pounds peeled yuca*, fresh or frozen
  • teaspoons salt

Meat Filling

  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • ¾ cup minced scallion
  • ¼ cup minced onion
  • ½ tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1 teaspoon color* or turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin*
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • ¾ pound (2 cups) white farmer’s Cheese, grated
  • Ají Antioqueño, for serving


  1. Cut the yuca lengthwise into 1-inch pieces. They will be half-moon-shaped chunks, since yuca is a cylindrical vegetable and is usually cut in long, half-cylinders. Remove the center stem.
  2. In a small stockpot place the yuca and 3 teaspoons of salt, and cover completely with water. Simmer over medium heat until the yuca is so soft that you can insert a knife smoothly into it—about 20 minutes for good yuca. It should feel like a potato when done.
  3. In the meantime, PREPARE THE MEAT FILLING: Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan, over medium heat. Cook the scallion, onion, garlic, bouillon cube, color, cumin, and pepper for 4 minutes. Add the beef, lower the heat and cook for 6 minutes more. Mix well with a wooden spoon to make sure the beef is separated and not in chunks. Set aside to cool.
  4. Remove the yuca from the water. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and mash with a potato masher or pass through a molino*.
  5. Form 12 balls of about 3 tablespoons of yuca each. Flatten them to 4 inches rounds. Place 1 tablespoon of beef filling or 2½ tablespoons of grated cheese in the center of each flattened yuca ball. Roll and press the sides to close.
  6. Pour the oil into a deep, medium, heavy pot, and place over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot (about 350°F), add the yuca balls and deep fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes to set the shape. Serve with Ají Antioqueño or just as they are.