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Three Easy Steps to Cook Fried Empanadas and the Story of the Spanish Turnover

Reina simply loves cooking at home. To develop her cooking skills, she studies online courses on professional cookery.

Philippine empanadas are usually fried and stuffed with ground beef, potatoes, carrots, cheese and raisins.

Philippine empanadas are usually fried and stuffed with ground beef, potatoes, carrots, cheese and raisins.

Robert de Nola was the Spanish chef who coined the name empanadas in his fourteenth-century cookbook. Libre del Coch was published in Barcelona in 1520. The author signed it with the name Master Robert.

Master Robert was the royal chef of King Ferdinand III who was the king of Naples at the time. The king's cuisinier was an expert in seafood and fish recipes. His empanadas were Spanish turnovers filled with fish and seafood.

The name empanada comes from the Spanish verb which means to coat in bread. It is a stuffed pastry filled with meat, vegetables, or seafood. The dough can either be baked or fried. An Italian cookbook features the original recipe.

Philippine empanadas originated from these Spanish turnovers. The Spaniards must have brought the dish when they came to occupy the country. It has influenced the taste buds of the natives. They learned to make their own empanada recipes.

How To Cook Empanadas

Spanish and Portuguese empanadas are made as large pies which are then cut into smaller pieces. The filling is usually made with tuna, sardines, or chorizo, but some also use pork or some other meat. It is cooked with onion, garlic, and tomato sauce.

The meat or fish filling is then wrapped inside pastry or bread. The dough is folded and sealed to keep the filling inside. It looks a lot like the South Asian dish called samosa. Here's a recipe I got from our trainer at the community college. It is only an experimental mix that we made during cooking class.

We used two kinds of meat to make the filling for this empanada recipe. Chicken and ground pork sautéed with garlic and onion. Potatoes and carrots are natural extenders. We add cheese and pickle relish for extra flavor. Hard-boiled eggs give the filling some texture.

Empanadas in the Philippines are usually fried. Although some people may choose to have it baked instead. Others also store frozen empanadas in their fridge so they can have them ready for the next family occasion. The recipe I have is the most popular empanada recipe in the Philippines.

Ingredients You Will Need

For the crust::

  • 6 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 pieces whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup cold water

For the filling::

  • 1/2 kilo chicken breast, shredded
  • 1/2 kilo potatoes, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 pieces chicken broth cubes
  • 1/4 kilo ground pork
  • 1 piece carrot, diced
  • 1 piece onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 pieces hard-boiled eggs, sliced into cubes
  • 1 small pack raisins
  • 3 tablespoon pickle relish
  • 1 box cheese, sliced into cubes

How To Cook the Fried Empanadas

  1. MAKE THE DOUGH. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Cut butter into pea-sized chunks and drop into mixture. Add water gradually until moistened. Form into a ball and set aside.
  2. PREPARE THE FILLING. Sauté garlic and onion. Add ground pork and simmer. Season with chicken broth cubes, salt, and pepper. Add dice potatoes and carrot. Simmer until vegetables are tender. Add raisins. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. CUT THE CRUST. Cut the dough into smaller pieces. Flatten each piece with a rolling pin. Place about a spoonful of the filling. Add cheese and hard-boiled eggs. Brush the edges with water and fold to seal properly. Deep fry in oil until golden brown.

Please Rate This Recipe

Two Ways to Seal an Empanada

How To Seal an Empanada

The above video features a Goya chef giving a quick demonstration of two different ways to seal empanadas. The most popular way is to use a fork to press the edges. The second is to braid the edges with your hands.

Fork-pressed empanadas are popular among Caribbean-style empanadas. Braided style is preferred for baked empanadas. The technique is called repulgue. You can actually get creative with folding your empanadas.

The repulgue method is famous among chefs in Argentina. As a matter of fact, they have different names for each fold. It is unique for every kind of filling they put in their empanadas.

Three Basic Steps to Fold an Empanada

It's actually pretty simple to fold an empanada. You don't need to know to go to Argentina to learn all those fancy folding patterns. Just remember these three simple steps.

  1. Moisten the edges of the empanada with water.
  2. Fold the empanada and press the edges to get a nice seal.
  3. Start by pressing and folding one corner to create a triangle.

Repeat step number three to continue the pattern moving across the entire edge of the empanada until you reach the other corner. If you're feeling lazy, never mind the braids and use a fork instead.

Now Just Two Cents

You can also use empanada molders to get fancy patterns for your empanadas but the folding technique still works the best. I tried using this kitchen tool when I made my fried empanada recipe at home but it didn't work well for me. I had to use a fork instead.

Some molders are too small. You can't put too much filling in your empanada. It also doesn't seal very well. You may need to press the edges with your hands to make sure the empanadas are sealed properly.

You just can't rely completely on mechanical tools to make great empanadas. I would still prefer folding empanadas with my bare hands or sealing the edges with a fork.

Here's a quick poll.


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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Reina Mendoza

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