Empanadas are a main element in Venezuelan gastronomy. Throughout the country, they are usually eaten at any time of day and with fillings that steal your attention with every bite. The empanadas are nothing more than a mass of corn flour which is filled with meat, chicken, cheese, seafood stews, etc. They are shaped like a half moon and are fried so that they have a crunchy texture. The dough of the empanadas usually has a sweet touch and sometimes seasoned with spices to enhance flavors.
Depending on the region where you are in Venezuela, the fillings can vary as in the Andean region and its typical empanadas of potato with cheese and rice with ground meat. If you go to the coastal areas, you will find empanadas filled with fish and all kinds of seafood. There is a joke that we always say and it is that when you go out to the street, it is a sin to buy cheese empanadas. Those we prepare at home, if you go to a food stand, you should buy meat empanadas or any other filling other than cheese.
Another characteristic of the empanadas is the sauce. It is usually accompanied by garlic sauce, paprika sauce, vegetable pickles, hot sauce and the typical guasacaca (avocado, onion, coriander, paprika and garlic). To say that you ate an empanada without sauce, that is to say that you did not eat empanadas. The fat that the empanadas have is not enough, we must add more since the flavor is in the fat. Today I want to present you with a recipe for potato and cheese empanadas, which I will accompany with a papelón syrup to enhance the sweet touch. Let's get to work, look for the ingredients, prepare your table, we are going to cook.
- 2 cups of corn flour
- 2 cups of warm water (you may need more)
- 1 large potato
- 200gr white cheese
- 2 tablespoons papelón or sugar
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- Salt to taste
- Additional oil for frying
Note: Papelón is a sugar cane based product. If you don't get this product, the best substitute for papelón is brown sugar.
- The first thing to do is the dough, in a bowl add the 2 cups of water, add salt to taste, 1 tablespoon of oil. Then add the corn flour. When the dough is ready, add 2 tablespoons of Papelón and integrates well.
- It should be mixed and kneaded until it becomes a soft and firm dough at the same time. You may need to add a little more water, let the dough rest for 5 minutes and check its texture. It should look like the texture of the plasticine.
- Peel and cut the potatoes in squares and put them to cook in some water until they are soft enough to make mashed potatoes.
- When the potatoes are ready, with the help of a fork, we crush the potato squares and make the mashed potatoes. Add the grated white cheese and mix well to form a potato and cheese dough. We reserve.
- Place a frying pan to heat and add oil. Ideally, the empanadas should float in the oil, but this will depend on whether you want to use a lot or a little oil.
- We take a plastic bag and cut it to place it on a table. We take some of the dough and place it on the bag.
- Flatten the dough with your hand in a circle so that it spreads throughout the bag. It does not have to be very long.
- Take the mashed potato and cheese and place it between the center and one of the sides of the circle. Fold the bag to form a half moon and with the help of a cup, cut it to give it a nice shape.
- Take the empanada and fry it in hot oil until it is golden on both sides. The idea of the plastic is that it helps you avoid the dough sticking and you can handle the empanada better.
- Repeat the process until you finish the ingredients or prepare the empanadas you want.
You can accompany these empanadas with some sauce, chopped vegetables, guasacaca or a papelon syrup if you are like me who loves an extra sweet touch. The syrup is nothing more than a melted papelón syrup. If you have ever eaten empanadas, tell me how they look like or if they have a preparation similar to this one in your country.
All pictures were taken by me, with a Xiaomi Redmi 7 phone, without any edition. They were only compressed to facilitate the visualization of the content.