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How to Make Empanada – Filipino Meat Pastry Turnover

Updated on September 29, 2012
Vegetarian Empanada
Vegetarian Empanada | Source
Beef Empanada
Beef Empanada | Source

The Philippines has its own version of the world-popular empanada – a baked or fried and chewy or crunchy pastry that is so famous in many countries around the globe.

Empanada is made by stuffing dough with meats, fruits, vegetables, and even nuts.

How Filipinos Learned to Make and Eat Empanada

Empanada has such a long and complex history.

It is supposed to have been a recreation of the meat-stuffed samosa that people in Arab nations love so much.

Somehow, Spaniards and Portuguese, during their early competitive exploits to discover territories outside their own, learned about samosa and decided to remake one in the form of empanada.

People living in countries colonized by Spaniards and Portuguese naturally learned about empanada from the colonizers and made it for themselves.

Filipinos were one of these people.

Empanada in the Philippines

Over time, Filipinos began to tweak the Spanish empanada recipe to suit indigenous tastes and use local ingredients.

Today, it is typical to find empanada across the Philippines made of ground beef or pork, tidbits of chicken, small shrimps, onions, raisins, and potatoes.

Potatoes are used because they are reasonably priced and are quite filling.

The commonplace empanada is usually made of thick flour dough. It is baked. Thus, it is chewy and slightly sweet.

A northern province of the Philippines, Ilocos, where the Spaniards and Filipinos once sailed large trade ships bound for Mexico and other parts of the world, however, has a really good empanada recipe.

So tasty is this recipe that Filipinos snap up Ilocano empanada for pasalubong or homecoming gifts.

The Ilocano version uses green papaya and mung beans as fillers as well as the local chorizo or Ilocano sausage and egg yolks as main ingredients.

This empanada uses thin rice flour. It is deep-fried. Thus, it is savory and crunchy.

You can tell that an empanada is an Ilocos empanada just by its look. It has annatto powder that creates a rich orange color.

When Filipinos Eat Empanada

Because it is filling and can be munched on-the-go, empanada is often eaten for afternoon snacks or merienda.

However, it can also pass for a light breakfast or agahan since it is a hearty meal made of meat, vegetable, and even fruit.

It can also be served as a finger food in parties or a substitute for sandwiches during out-of-town trips.

Recipe for Empanada

Ingredients for the Empanada Crust

  • baking powder – 2 teaspoons
  • flour – 2 cups
  • salt – ½ tablespoons
  • shortening – 1/3 cup
  • sugar – 2 tablespoons
  • water – 1/3 cup

Ingredients for Empanada Filling

  • beef – 2 cups; cooked; grounded
  • beef stock – ½ cup
  • clove – ¼ teaspoon; pounded
  • cooking oil – 4 tablespoons
  • cumin – ¼ teaspoon; pounded
  • garlic – 3 cloves; minced
  • onion – 1; medium-sized; chopped
  • pepper – ¼ teaspoon
  • raisin – ¼ cup
  • salt – ¼ teaspoon
  • tomatoes – 2 pieces; peeled
  • vinegar – 1 teaspoon

How to Make Empanada Filling

  1. In a pan set over medium heat, pour in oil.
  2. Allow oil to heat up.
  3. Sauté garlic and onions until onions are clear and garlic is slightly brown.
  4. Add in meat.
  5. Cook for about 10 minutes.
  6. Add in tomatoes.
  7. Pour in stock.
  8. Add in the rest of the ingredients.
  9. Mix thoroughly.
  10. Simmer for 25 minutes.
  11. Allow filling to cool.

How for Making Empanada

  1. In a large-sized mixing bowl, sift flour.
  2. Add in sugar and baking powder.
  3. Sprinkle salt.
  4. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Add in shortening.
  6. Mix thoroughly with hands until mixture becomes coarse.
  7. Sprinkle a little water.
  8. Knead dough.
  9. Cover the bowl with plastic.
  10. Set aside for 15 minutes.
  11. Roll the dough.
  12. Cut the dough into four-inch-diameter circles.
  13. Place filling at the middle of each of the circular dough.
  14. Fold each of the dough into half-circles, with filling secured at the middle.
  15. Moisten the edges of dough with water.
  16. Seal by pressing the edges with little fingers or the tines of a fork.
  17. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.

You’re done! Your homemade Philippine empanada is ready to be served. Share with friends and family.

Copyright © 2012 Kerlyn Bautista

All Rights Reserved

Philippine Chicken Empanada (in Filipino language)

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    • Midasfx profile image


      6 years ago

      I love these things. I usually order a fish empanada because we don't have fish tacos around here. They put deep fried haddock and a little bit of cole slaw with a zest of lemon and then deep fry the empanada. Delicious hub, voted up!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      As a hispanic who loves empanadas I had to read your hub. I was curious to see how it differs from traditional spanish recipes but I see that is is quite similar. You are so right in that it makes a handy take-a-long meal. We often make ours with spiced pumpkin as a dessert. Now I am hungry for one and must see if I have the ingredients to make a batch tomorrow.

    • VirginiaLynne profile image

      Virginia Kearney 

      6 years ago from United States

      So interesting that this is like the samosa from the middle east! I've made those and empanadas but never made the connection. This recipe looks a lot better than the ones I made--I'm going to have to try it. Actually, you are making my mouth water! I love these!

    • theridehome profile image


      6 years ago from DC/MD/VA

      looks soooo good...i would so make a mess out of this dish!

      easier instructions/recipe please

      something like put mayo on bread, put meat on bread, then eat...

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I am not much of a cook, but I am going to try your recipe

      Thanks for sharing great hub

    • asmaiftikhar profile image


      6 years ago from Pakistan

      I have prepare many times in tea time.that is delicious recipe.thanks for sharing.

    • NotSoPerfect profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      This sounds tasty! Thanks for sharing the recipe, it sounds totally delightful. Voting up and interesting.


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