Colombian cuisine is a vibrant tapestry of flavors, and one of its most beloved street foods is the empanada. These savory delights, often enjoyed as a snack or appetizer, are known for their crispy golden crust and flavorful fillings. If you’re curious to try your hand at preparing these mouthwatering treats, follow our step-by-step guide to creating authentic Colombian empanadas in your own kitchen.
For the Dough:
- 2 cups of pre-cooked yellow cornmeal (masarepa)
- 2 ½ cups of warm water
- 1 teaspoon of salt
For the Filling:
- 1 cup of ground beef or chicken (cooked and seasoned)
- 1 cup of diced potatoes (cooked)
- 1 cup of diced onions
- ½ cup of diced tomatoes
- ½ cup of chopped scallions
- ½ cup of diced bell peppers
- 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Oil for frying
1. Prepare the Dough:
- In a mixing bowl, combine the pre-cooked yellow cornmeal, warm water, and salt.
- Knead the mixture until a smooth dough forms. Let it rest for about 10 minutes.
2. Prepare the Filling:
- In a skillet, sauté the diced onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes until they’re softened and fragrant.
- Add the cooked ground beef or chicken, diced potatoes, chopped scallions, ground cumin, salt, and pepper.
- Mix the ingredients well and cook for a few minutes until the flavors meld together.
3. Assemble the Empanadas:
- Take a small portion of the dough and roll it into a ball about the size of a golf ball.
- Place the dough ball between two sheets of plastic wrap and use a heavy object (like a flat-bottomed plate) to flatten it into a thin, round disc.
4. Add the Filling:
- Place a spoonful of the prepared filling in the center of the dough disc.
5. Fold and Seal:
- Fold the dough disc over the filling, creating a half-moon shape.
- Press the edges firmly to seal the empanada. You can use the tines of a fork to crimp the edges for a decorative touch.
6. Fry to Perfection:
- In a deep skillet or pot, heat enough oil for frying to around 350°F (175°C).
- Gently place the empanadas into the hot oil, a few at a time, and fry until they’re golden brown and crispy on both sides.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the empanadas from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.
7. Serve and Enjoy:
- Colombian empanadas are typically served with aji, a spicy dipping sauce, or salsa.
- Serve your freshly fried empanadas while they’re still warm and crispy.
Savor the Flavor: making Colombian empanadas at home allows you to experience this popular and delicious street food firsthand. The crispy, golden exterior combined with the flavorful filling makes every bite a delight. As you savor your homemade empanadas, you’ll be transported to the vibrant streets of Colombia, where these treats are enjoyed as a cherished culinary tradition.