An empanada is similar to a calzone or turnover, but smaller. It can be baked or fried, and depending on their size, they are a great dinner or lovely finger food, and because of their versatility (you can fill them with any ingredient you like), there is one for every taste.
On this ocassion, we’ll share a recipe of corn empanadas filled with cheese and fried. A gluten free, vegetarian friendly indulgence traditional from several South American countries, especially Venezuela and Colombia.
Ingredients (4 empanadas)
250 gr. cornmeal
500 ml of water
1 teaspoon of salt
200 gr of shreded queso blanco (soft white cheese such as mozzarella or feta)
4 tablespoons of oil (for the dough)
Enough oil to fry them
Put the cornmeal in a bowl. Add the salt, mix and add half the water.
Knead the dough and add the rest of the water gradually. If it’s too crumbly, add more water and oil, if it’s too wet, add more cornmeal).
Divide the dough in four pieces the size of a small orange.
Put one ball of dough on a silicon mat (or a cutting board covered with plastic film), and press with your fingers until you get a circle about a 0,5 cm thick. You can use a dough roll if you prefer but it’s not necessary.
Put one quarter of the cheese on one side of the circle. Avoid covering the borders because you’ll need them clean to close the empanada properly.
Carefully, with the aid of the plastic film or silicon mat, fold the circle in half, without pressing the centre. Press very gently on the borders. You’ll get a moon-shaped empanada.
Make sure the borders are closed well and repeat with all the empanadas. You can spread a bit of oil on the mat or plastic film so it’s easier to fold them.
Pour enough oil in a pan, so it can cover at least half the empanada. Use medium-high flame, if it’s too hot they’ll burn outside and won’t cook inside. If it’s too low, they will cook very slowly and absorb too much oil. Fry the first side of the empanada.
When the borders are getting golden, you can flip it. Be very gentle, because if you squeeze them, the water from the cheese will come out to the hot oil and you may get burned.
You can let them rest in absorbent paper before serving, but not for long, they are best eaten hot.