Empanadas are stuffed pastries, also known as hand pies or turnovers. Empanadas are very popular in Spain, Latin America and the Caribbean. These can be baked or deep fried. Many countries have their own version of empanadas and are known by different names.
Indian empanadas are usually have sweet fillings and are known by different names in different parts of the country. In Telugu it is karijalu and are usually made with a sweet filling and deep fried. Savory ones are not that common but my mom use to make them once in a while as my father liked kheema (ground mutton) karijalu.
For the second day I am taking you to Chile & Argentina. I mentioned two countries because according to Wiki, it is the national dish of both these countries. However, some sites claim that Argentina has only one national dish, which is Asado. I checked this only after preparing the empanadas. Then I scrolled down the wiki list to find that it is also the national dish of Chile.
The base or the cover for the empanadas can be made from scratch but some of the American chefs use pie crust. I took the short cut and used Pillsbury pie crust for the cover and used chicken filling. But if one wants to make the cover from scratch, here is Laylita’s recipe. I have not tried that recipe but if I were to make it from scratch, I would have followed it. There are many empanada recipes online and Laylita also has various filling suggestions. Until I saw her empanadas, I always thought empanadas are sealed and pressed with a fork and not hand folded into a curl like the karijalu.
Since empanadas can also be curled to secure the seal, I found curling the edges easier than pressing it with a fork. I folded it just like we do for karijalu. I used chicken filling but any filling of ones choice can be used.
Total Time: 70 – 75 minutes
Preparation: 15 – 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 12 – 15 minutes
Baking Time: 40 minutes (18 minutes per batch, baked two batches)
Yields: 32 – 34
- 1 ½ tbsp. Oil
- ½ tbsp. Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1 small – Medium Onion sliced
- 5 Green Chilies chopped
- 1 medium Vine Ripe Tomato diced (can use any variety of tomato)
- ½ tsp. Black Pepper Powder
- ½ tsp. Cumin Seeds, powdered
- 1 ¼ tsp. Salt
- ½ tsp. Tabasco Hot Sauce
- 2-3 tbsp. Chopped Cilantro
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
- 1 Package Pie Crust (I used Pillsbury brand and each box comes with 2 unrolled 9” crusts)
- Remove the pie crust from the refrigerated and leave it on the countertop to bring it to room temperature or follow instructions on the package to bringing it to a room temperature.
- Heat oil and fry ginger garlic paste for few seconds.
- Add onion, tomatoes, green chilies, pepper powder, salt, cumin powder and sauté for couple of minutes until tomatoes are mushy.
- Add ground chicken and stir constantly to break the ground chicken to avoid lumps of ground chicken.
- Cook for 5- 10 minutes until chicken is cooked and all the juices are evaporated. It usually takes about 7 minutes on medium high – high flame.
- Taste the chicken and adjust seasoning accordingly. I found the filling a bit bland and added ½ tsp. Tabasco Hot Sauce.
- Turn of the flame, add cilantro mix properly.
- Once the chicken cools or just before filling the empanadas, add cheese to the chicken mixture and mix properly.
- Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
- Unroll the pie crust onto a clean surface. Using a rolling pin, roll it out a little. The pie crust is 9” and I rolled it to 12” – 13″. I did not flour dust the surface but can be done if one feels the crust might stick to the surface.
- Using a 3” round cookie cutter or a biscuit cutter cut the crust into small circles/discs. I was able to cut out 11 circles from each crust. Keep the crust scrapes aside for rolling it out again.
- Place about ½ tbsp. of chicken filling in the middle of the circle, wet the edges of the circle with water or beaten egg. I used water. Fold the circle to make a half circle and seal the edges.
- To Curl Seal - Hold the empanada in one hand, starting from one corner, using two fingers of the other hand, press or pinch the sealed edges slightly and fold back. Right next to the folded edges / curl, repeat the pinch and fold to curl empanada all around. OR
- To Seal with Fork – After filling and sealing the edges of the empanada, using the tines of the fork, press it on the edges of the empanada to make straight line marks.
- Place the empanadas on a baking sheet. Fill rest of the circles with the filling and seal them.
- Egg wash the surface of the empanadas and bake for 18 minutes in a pre-heated oven.
- I baked in two batches. While the first batch was baking, I rolled out the second crust, cut it into small circles, filled it with chicken, folded and sealed it, egg washed and baked for 18 minutes or until the surface is golden brown.
- The scraps of the two crusts can be rolled out to make more empanadas. I did not do so, as I we ate the remaining ground chicken with Kabuli Palaw. If one were to use the left over scraps, there was enough dough to make another 10 – 11 empanadas. I rolled it out into 11” – 12” circle, placed it on a wax paper, rolled it with the wax paper and refrigerated it for later use.
- I served the empanadas hot with some red chili sauce.
- We like fully stuffed empanadas. Filling from some of the empanadas leaked but I was ok with it.
- Fillings: I used ground chicken but shredded chicken, seafood, vegetables and a sweet filling can also be used.