In the Philippines, a big part of their culture is eating snacks during the afternoon. They call it, “merienda”. Usually, Filipino have their snacks around 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM. One of the great options for merienda is homemade empanada bites.
Empanada is a well-loved snack food by the Filipinos, it is a fried or baked pastry stuffed with beef, pork, or chicken. Every household has its own way of making empanada. Furthermore, empanadas can be fried or baked depending on one’s preference.
If you want to achieve the perfect flaky crust and tender crumb, you must wet your dough using cold water because it will ensure that the butter cut in the dough will not melt.
• 1½ cups all-purpose flour
• 2 tbsp sugar
• ¼ tsp baking powder
• ½ cup cold butter (cut into cubes)
• ¼ salt
• 1 egg (beaten)
• 2 tbsp cold water
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
• 1½ onion (finely chopped)
• 1 lb lean ground pork/chicken/beef
• ¼ cup of carrot peeled and diced
• ½ cup of potato peeled and diced
• 1 tbsp soy sauce
• 2 tbsp oyster sauce
• Salt and ground pepper to taste
• ½ cup of raisins (optional)
• ½ cup frozen sweet peas
1. In a non-stick pan, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onions and garlic for 2 minutes or until the onion has softened.
2. Add the ground pork and cook for 2-3 minutes until it starts to brown.
3. Stir in soy sauce, carrot, potato, and frozen sweet peas. Cover and cook for a few minutes until vegetables are cooked.
4. Add oyster sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook the mixture over low heat until liquid has evaporated.
5. Set aside and cool completely.
1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, whisk together.
2. Add the butter cubes, and hardly press it using a fork until it is fully incorporated into the flour mixture.
3. Add the water and egg; knead for a few minutes until the soft dough is formed.
4. Wrap it in plastic and place in the fridge 20-30 minutes to rest.
Assembly and Cooking
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. On a floured bench, one disk of dough with a rolling pin, until it’s about 1/8 inch thick.
3. Cut the rounds of the dough using a 2-inch biscuit cutter. Place 1 teaspoon of the meat mixture in the center of the rolled out dough.
4. Fold the dough in half over the filling to create a half-moon shape. Press the edges together and seal the empanada by pressing all along the edge with a fork.
5. Continue until you’ve used the remaining filling and dough.
6. Transfer it to the baking sheet, then give them an egg wash using a pastry brush.
7. Bake the empanadas for 10-15 minutes or until they are golden brown.
8. Remove from oven and allow to slightly to cool
9. Serve and enjoy!
Remember, the dough is the key! You can gobble these up as is or serve with a dipping sauce like chimichurri sauce, queso dip, and avocado salsa. If you want spicy or cheesy empanada bites, you can add some chili powders when you’re cooking the fillings and for cheese, mozzarella is a good option. Just place it on top before closing the dough.
As much as possible, bake only what you can finish because baked pies tend to lose their flaky texture over time. But if you end with already baked extras, what you can do is arrange the leftover empanadas in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze them until firm, then transfer to airtight containers or resealable bags to keep from sticking together.