Achiras, crispy cheese snack from Colombia

Achiras, knuspriger Käsesnack aus Kolumbien (glutenfrei)

Have you every experienced this? You want to bake something you ate during your holiday, but then you can’t find the right ingredients. This is what happened to me when I tried to make achiras, this is a gluten free cheese snack from Colombia. My first problem was the cheese being used, it is called queso campesino and simply is not sold in Germany. Feta is probably the closest you will ever find, but it is firmer and much saltier. So I thought I couldn’t make achiras.

On top of that, Colombians use a special starch for achiras. It is extracted from the Sago palm. I was very certain that regular grocery stores in Germany wouldn’t offer Sago starch. At least this is what I thought.

Achiras, knuspriger Käsesnack aus Kolumbien (glutenfrei)

But when I was happily walking through our local grocery store, I suddenly read “pearl sago” somewhere between the cornstarch and semolina. Really? Was this for real? So I checked and learned that indeed I could buy starch made from Sago, however, it was only sold in pearls as you can see below. So I thought why not process these pearls in a food processor and see if it works? Unfortunately, the result wasn’t the best. So the next time I went to an Asian store, I asked whether they sold sago starch. The lady nodded and gave me a pack of tapica starch! I had to laugh, so obvious! Colombians have another cheese snack called buñuelos and this one is prepared with tapioca starch, I should have known! So now I felt I really had to give achiras a go. The next problem I had to tackle was the cheese.

PerlsagoSince queso campesino is much creamier than Feta, I thought I would mix in some cream cheese to give it the right consistency. Colombian cheese tends to be the fresh kind, so I firgued cream cheese might do the trick. But then the second batch was still not right either, I hadn’t gotten the ratios right and the achiras still looked wrong and didn’t taste as expected. But you know how it goes, the third time’s the charm, when I was almost giving up hope, I finally whipped up the perfect batch of achiras. Produced in Germany with German ingredients! And as an extra bonus I can tell you that they are prepared rather quickly. So if you are in for a crunchy cheese snack, which happens to be gluten free, why not give these traditional Colombian achiras a try?

Achiras, knuspriger Käsesnack aus Kolumbien (glutenfrei)

Credit: Slighty adapted from the Youtube video by Colegio de Cocineros (in Spanisch)

Achiras, gluten free cheese snack from Colombia

Print Recipe
Serves: About 45, depending on size Cooking Time: 20min preparation + 35min of baking

Ingredients

  • 20 grams of butter
  • 100 grams of feta cheese
  • 150 grams of cream cheese
  • 150 grams of tapioca starch or sago starch (not the pearls though)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 pinch of sugar

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 180 degreese Celsius and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2

Melt the butter.

3

Cream the two cheeses with a mixer, then add all other ingredients except for the butter. Once everything is combined, add the butter. The dough will be a bit wet and sticky, that's OK.

4

From three long and thin strings with the dough on a surface floured with the tapioca starch, cut each string into 1.5cm little pieces and place these on the baking sheet.

5

Bake for 15 min, the reduce temperature to 160 and bake for another 15-20min. The achiras should be crunchy from the outside and the center should be dry.

Notes

No idea what to do with the leftover egg white? Check out see this blog post including how to freeze them properly.

Achiras, knuspriger Käsesnack aus Kolumbien (glutenfrei)Would you like to try some more Colombian recipes?

From left to right:

Colombian flatbread with cheese filling (arepa boyacense)

Fried cheese balls (buñuelos)

Meringue with berries (merengón)

Sweet yeast rings with guava filling (roscónes con bocadillo)

Puff pastry with custard and whipped cream (milhojas)

Milk custard (postre de natas)

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Katrin Lausch
    Friday April 26th, 2019 at 04:55 PM

    Sehr fein, aber ich kenne es im Original meist mit Pfeilwurzmehl/stärke. LG

    • Reply
      Jenny
      Friday April 26th, 2019 at 07:08 PM

      Hi Katrin, ja, ich habe Rezepte auch damit gesehen, auch wenn viele definitiv mit Sagostärke gemacht wurden. Mir war es jedoch wichtig, dass man nicht tausend spezielle Zutaten braucht, um sie zu nachzumachen und ich muss sagen, dass ich auch nicht so große Unterschiede schmecke zu Tapiokastärke.

  • Reply
    Ramona
    Sunday April 28th, 2019 at 05:17 PM

    Oh, ich bin gespannt ob ich irgendwo das Mehl herbekomme 😉 danke fürs so lange ausprobieren!!

    • Reply
      Jenny
      Sunday April 28th, 2019 at 05:27 PM

      Ramona, schau mal in Asia-Läden, die haben das eigentlich immer.

  • Reply
    urs
    Sunday May 5th, 2019 at 07:30 PM

    Liebe Jenny, Danke dass du uns kulinarisch mit nach Kolumbien genommen hast! Dein Käsesnack ist auf meine to-Do Liste gewandert! Liebe Grüße, Urs

    • Reply
      Jenny
      Sunday May 5th, 2019 at 09:13 PM

      Ich hoffe, du backst sie bald nach, ich habe sie erst gestern für unsere kolumbianischen Gäste gemacht und sie waren wieder erneut der Hit!

  • Reply
    Britta Koch
    Thursday May 9th, 2019 at 05:27 PM

    Tus achiras mi parece muy ricas… und sehen dabei so herrlich fluffig aus.

    Ab auf meine Nachkochliste.

    PS: (Perl-)Sago kenne ich schon seit meinen Kindertagen, vom Namen her zumindest.

    Saludos Britta

    • Reply
      Jenny
      Thursday May 9th, 2019 at 06:29 PM

      Liebe Britta, melde dich gerne mit Feedback, wenn du sie nachbäckst. Durch meine internationale Kindheit sind mir so einige Standardsachen verloren gegangen, aber lieber spät als nie 😉

      • Reply
        Britta Koch
        Wednesday May 22nd, 2019 at 11:35 AM

        Sobald ich es nachbacke, wirst Du sowieso als Quelle verlinkt. Das ist ja selbstverständlich.

        LG Britta

        • Reply
          Jenny
          Wednesday May 22nd, 2019 at 12:43 PM

          Ok, super, bin gespannt!

  • Reply
    Gabi
    Friday May 10th, 2019 at 09:51 AM

    Boah, was hast du dir eine Arbeit gemacht und eine komplette Versuchsreihe gestartet 😉 Sehen toll aus…

    • Reply
      Jenny
      Friday May 10th, 2019 at 10:08 AM

      Danke! Meld dich gerne, solltest du sie nachbacken!

  • Reply
    Natalia
    Thursday May 16th, 2019 at 09:35 PM

    Hola Jenny, me encanta toparme con tu blog, vi tarde el compendio de participaciones para sur américa y no alcancé a participar. Pero bueno, me encanta ver las propuestas con los ingredientes locales en lugares tan lejanos a estas tierras. Soy Colombiana y por eso me atrajo especialmente esta receta, definitivamente los achiras son una cosa deliciosa que aún yo no me he atrevido a preparar, veo toda tu aventura y el resultado y bueno creo que lo importante es saltar a prepararlos. Así que felicidades por ello. Como te dije antes, soy colombiana pero vivo en Brasil, he pasado por varias ciudades, ahora mismo, vivo en una ciudad que queda al sur, muy cerca de tu natal Uruguay, pues que gusto ver este compilado de ideas tan deliciosas, preparadas con tanto cariño. Mil besos y por acá estaré visitándote, un beso.

    • Reply
      Jenny
      Thursday May 16th, 2019 at 09:46 PM

      Hola Natalia, bienvenida. Cuando hagas la receta, me avisas!

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