Monday, June 27, 2011

Venezuelan Empanadas: An easy recipe, not a diet one!

Empanadas are a traditional food in my country and are so delicious that I wanted to keep the tradition going. So last weekend it was time for my 5 year old girl to learn how to make them. They take a while to make but are really easy – as you can see, if my daughter at 5 can do them, so can you! no excuse!


  • Corn flour (Harina PAN or Mazeca) 
  • Water 
  • Salt 
  • Oil for frying (I use Canola)

Fillings: As a filling, you can use whatever you want. Here are some traditional fillings:

  • Ham and cheese 
  • Chicken (I used this today - the recipe is coming soon) 
  • Shredded Beef (See recipe here)
  • Ground meat

For the preparation:

  • 1 plastic bag - transparent, large (Ziplock type) 
  • A cutting board 
  • 1 round bowl (diameter must be the size that you want the empanadas to be)
Cut the plastic bag to make a relatively large rectangular plastic sheet. If you are using a Ziplock type bag, remove the part of the zipper, and then cut the sides open. Wash the bag well and dry with a paper towel.

Before preparing the dough, heat the oil in a deep pot or pan. The oil should cover the empanadas when you fry then. I usually put enough oil to be two fingers deep (Note: this is not a diet recipe!)

Prepare the dough as if you were to make Arepas (see recipe here). I normally put about a quarter cup of flower per empanada. You can follow the instructions on the flour packaging to determine the amount of water to add. I do not normally measure the water. I simply begin to put water little by little while I knead and continue adding water until the dough is smooth. Add salt to taste and continue kneading. Some people like to put one or two tablespoons of oil to the dough to give it more flexibility (I don’t do that).

When the dough is soft like play-doh, you are ready to prepare the empanadas.

Set all the necessary preparation materials on your working table. This will make your work easier. Put a little oil in a small plate and a bowl with your preferred filling handy.

On top of the cutting board, open your plastic bag. Dab a circle with a little bit of oil on the center of the plastic bag with your fingers. Take a bit of dough and make a ball in your hands, put the ball in the bag where you put the oil and flatten it with your fingers until it forms a circle of dough (not too thick).

Put the filling in the middle, slightly down towards the bottom semicircle. Take the plastic bag and fold it, so that your circle of dough folds in half. Gently join the edges of the empanada with your fingers.

Ham and Cheese filling

Another empanada with chicken filling

Then take the bowl (the one of the size of that you want your empanadas to be) and place it on top of the empanada. Make sure the edges are on the outside of the bowl. Press downwards and backwards at the same time, holding the plastic. This will make the empanada tight and uniform.

Remove the bowl and open the plastic bag. The empanada is ready to fry.

Remove the empanada from the plastic bag very carefully and put it into the boiling oil (oil has to be hot).

Brown on one side and then turn the empanada. When browned on the other side, remove the empanada from the oil and place it on a paper towel to absorb the excess fat.

Tip: To stop the oil from burning, put a small ball of dough in the oil and leave there throughout the process. I do not know why it or how it works, but it works!

Let your empanada cool a little and enjoy it!

1 comment:

Auntie Pickles said...

This looks so good. I just found your site! Me encantan empanadas, tostones, anything latin you can fry in a pan! Gracias por la receta y que Dios te bendiga!

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