Nuegados are nothing more than fried dumplings coated with a sweet sugar cane sauce known as miel de dulce de atado (thanks to Mimi for the original name!). The name "nuegado" simply means "nougat". Traditional nuegados are made of yuca and fried in the shape of balls. Nuegados can also be made of corn flour called masa, (see my post on Tortillas de Maiz for a picture of this flour), and fried in the shape of hallow doughnut rings. If you have a deep fryer, definitely use it for this recipe because it makes the frying go much quicker and ensures an even fry all around.
I've created my own version of nuegados that uses both yuca and masa. I add the masa because I've found that if the nuegados are only made of yuca, they take too long to cook and can end up raw inside and burnt on the outside because of how moist the center is. I've also added a tablespoon of sugar to sweeten the dough, and I've added a teaspoon of vanilla to give off a nice aroma while the dough is being fried.
I like to serve nuegados with a dusting of powdered sugar and ice cream, but I've listed my recipe for the sauce below. Although the sauce is traditionally made with just atado dulce and water, I use a syrup made of brown sugar and honey. Atado dulce, which is just unrefined sugar cane, can also be called panela or piloncillo, if you are from Mexico. You will generally see this sugar by the more common Mexican names in your local international grocery store. The picture on the left shows blocks of sugar cane ready to be sold.
Nuegados de Yuca y Masa:
For the Dumplings:
- 1 yuca tuber
- 2 eggs, whisked
- 5 oz of cuajada fresca cheese**See note
- 1 tsp. of salt
- 1 Tbsp of white sugar
- 1/2 cup of masa flour
My Sweet Sauce (Miel de Dulce de Atado):
- 1/2 cup brown sugar or sugar cane sugar
- 3/4 cup of honey (brown rice syrup also works very nicely here)
- 1 cinnamon stick
Directions for Assembling and Frying the Nuegados:
- Using a potato peeler, remove skin from yuca.
- Still using the peeler, shave the yuca, vertically, lengthwise, until you get down to the core.
- Take the shavings and place them into a blender and grind them completely.
- Place ground shavings in a bowl.
- To the ground yuca, add the two eggs, salt, sugar, masa, and cheese.
- Mix completely using a mixer or your hands, making sure that cheese is completely broken up and evenly distributed.
- Make small balls out of the mixture using your hands.
- Heat frying oil in skillet to medium-high and then turn to stove medium once oil is hot. If you are using a deep fryer, set it on the "french fry" setting.
- Drop nuegados balls into the hot oil.
- Fry balls about 2-3 minutes minutes per side if using a skillet. You know that nuegados are done when they turn a dark golden color on the outside.
- Place finished nuegados on a plate covered with paper toil to absorb any excess oil.
To Make the Sweet Sauce
- Place all ingredients in a saucepan and heat on medium, stirring constantly.
- Bring ingredients to a simmer and then reduce heat to low and continue to stir for about 15 minutes.
- Once sauce has thickened, remove sauce from heat and immediately pour it the over fried nuegados, or you can serve the sauce on the side in a small ramekin.
**Cuajada fresca is a very moist, grainy, soft cheese, usually found at any international grocery store in the cheese section. Many people make nuegados with queso duro also. This will produce a drier nuegado that some people prefer to the wetter version.
Here are some pictures of the nuegado- making process:
Here I caught a nuegados thief running out of my kitchen!