What would be the closest cheese - generally available in an American supermarket or a well-stocked Mexican market - to an Ecuadorian cheese?
I have a few recipes for bolon de verde (plantain balls stuffed with cheese) that simply call for "cheese" in the filling. What can I use?
I'm not familiar with this particular item, but I suspect you want a relatively fresh cheese that melts. Some of the online recipes call for either chicharon (pork rinds) or cheese. On says specifically a 'cheese the melts'. In other words, you want an interesting tidbit in the middle of the fried ball.
In some recipes the cheese is a filling, in others it is grated and mixed with the platano dough. In the mountains they make something similar with potatoes, llapingachos. One cookbook specifies 'Chihuahua, mozarella or Muenster' for these.
My mom would make something similar called "tortas de platano". It was basically green plantain patties stuffed with cheese and chopped scallions. The patties would be formed from the cooked plantains, stuffed and then browned on each side. The closest we would come to matching an Ecuadorian cheese, would be by using a queso blanco criollo from our local bodega, something similar to the Queso Blanco Tropical brand that is now sold at many markets.
Several Ecuadorian cookbooks I have specify "queso blanco" for dishes such as this and llapingachos, humitas and other sorts of dishes where cheese is stuffed inside another food as a filling. A substitution table in one says "fresh white cheese; substitute cream cheese in soups or mozzarella in other dishes."
The "fresh white cheese" that I have bought in stores is called "queso fresco" and is fairly wet fresh cheese sold in our region, which has a large Central American population. It crumbles rather than shreds, so it doesn't grate well. It is similar to the queso blanco I used when we lived in Ecuador. It works really well in these types of dishes.
I was thinking about that while reading these posts. The Mexican queso fresco that I can get seomwhat resembles a less salty feta cheese, at least in texture. It doesn't melt at all.
I was thinking about Mozzarella or Jack but I think I can also get the Chihuahua. I'm cooking for an Ecuadorian friend who's lived in the States for many years so I'm hoping that intent will be valued over authenticity.