Bunuelos are fritters of Spanish origin. They are a popular snack in many Latin American countries, the Philippines, Turkey, Greece, Morocco, and are a tradition at Christmas, Ramadan and among Sephardic Jews. They will usually have a filling or a topping inside or on top. They are also an "essential" dish in Mexican cuisine.
Bunuelos "most likely originated with Sephardic Jews or Arabs", and "when these groups were forced out of Spain during the Spanish Inquisition, they took the dish to their new homelands." Bunuelos typically consist of a simple, wheat-based yeast dough, often flavored with anise, that is thinly rolled, cut or shaped into individual pieces, then fried and finished off with a sweet topping. Bunuelos may be filled with a variety of things, ranging from cheese to yams. They can be round in ball shapes or disc shaped.
In Catalonia, the Bunyols de Quaresma are eaten during Lent. It is one of the most enduring Catalan traditions.
In Colombia they are not sweet and are made with a small curd white cheese and formed into doughy balls then fried golden brown. It is a traditional Christmas dish, served along with natillas.
In Cuba they are traditionally twisted in a figure 8 and covered in an anise caramel. The dough contains yuca and malanga.
In Nicaragua bunuelos are made of yucca. The bunuelos are rolled into balls and deep fried and served with honey. They are eaten year-round, and are a typical side-dish or snack served during holidays.
In Mexican bunuelos are made from a yeasted dough with a hint of anise that is deep-fried, then drenched in a syrup of brown sugar, cinnamon, and guava. Bunuelos are commonly served in Mexico and other Latin American countries with powdered sugar, a cinnamon and sugar topping, or hot sugar cane syrup (piloncillo) and are sold in fairs, carnivals, and Christmas events such as Las Posadas.
There are references to bunelos in Majorca, Catalonia or in Valencia; there also bunuelos in Turkey, India, and Cuba; bunuelos in Russia. Jews in Turkey make bunuelos with matzo meal and eat them during Passover. They are also popular during Hanukkah.
In The Netherlands there is a similar dish called oliebollen , traditionally served on New Year's Eve. The dough is sweetened with vanilla extract and can contain raisins or currants. The finished product can also be filled with cream to form Berliner Bollen.
At a Mexican Restaurant Association event in Kansas City, bunuelos served with "honey" from panela (called "piloncillo" in Mexico) was among the traditional Mexican foods.
List of fried dough foods
List of doughnut varieties