From bakeries to street stalls, corner shops to supermarkets, restaurants to cafés, the not-so-healthy-but-totally-yummy empañadas make an appearance. Usually a savoury snack made from pastry, empañadas are rumoured to have European influence and were most likely introduced to South America when the Spanish arrived. In Ecuador they are most usually stuffed with cheese or banana slices before being bubbled for a while in the deep fryer.
When I first arrived in Quito, Luz (the house mother/hostel runner) was showing a group of Israelis how to make them and I didn’t really get involved (other than during the eating part). The following week I asked her to show me it in detail so that I could record all the information. It’s a fairly easy and quick process. Give it a go!
You will need: milk, salt, sugar, self-raising flour, butter, eggs, oil, a milk pan, some glasses/cups, mozzarella cheese, banana, a deep frying pan
- Measure out a beer glass of leche (½ litre milk) and warm it in a pan.
- Add a small handful of salt and sugar and dissolve it into the milk.
- Take milk pan off heat.
- Put half a bag (approx. 500g) of self-raising flour into a bowl with 200g of butter and the warmed milk and mix well.
- Add 2 eggs and a good splash of oil and mix well. Add more oil if needed.
- Knead and bounce dough on a suitable surface.
- Roll into small dough balls.
- Use a glass as a rolling pin and flatten out the dough balls.
- Place bits of crumbled cheese or sliced bananas on the rolled dough.
- Fold over, press in edges and do the pinching over pattern properly!
- Heat up oil in frying pan until bubbling.
- Deep fry the empañadas, then remove from the pan.
- Give them a moment to cool, then enjoy!
If you want to do it like the street vendors do, then sprinkle a load of granulated sugar over the top. Granted, an odd combination, especially for the cheese ones, but also strangely delicious. I was also wondering about sneaking a couple of chocolate chunks into the banana ones…