Empanada special

Empanada special

My Feast
Chris Chen

Born from the amazing mix of cultures that makes up pinoy cuisine, this empanada is one of the best foods I've ever eaten, and the runny egg yolk inside is such a tasty surprise. I experienced these ones in Vigan, a world-heritage listed city in Northern Luzon, in the Philippines. The streets are cobblestoned and the roads are lined with stores selling collectables from Vigan's Spanish colonial times. And you can take this all in while riding in your own horse-drawn cart.


Quantity Ingredient
12 lightly oiled banana leaves, trimmed to 14 cm squares
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Cane vinegar dip


Quantity Ingredient
90ml vegetable oil
1 teaspoon annatto seeds, (see glossary)
150g rice flour
150g plain flour
120ml water


Quantity Ingredient
150g cabbage, shredded
100g carrot, shredded
1 large brown onion, shredded
12 eggs
150g longganisa sausage or chorizo sausage, casings removed and meat minced


  1. To make the dough, place the oil and annatto seeds in a small saucepan over low heat and heat until just warm. Cool for 20 minutes, then strain through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl and discard the seeds. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Place the flour in a bowl and make a well. Add the water and infused oil to the well and stir until a dough forms, then turn out and knead on a work surface (there’s no need to dust as the oil will keep the dough from sticking) for 3–5 minutes or until pliable. Return to a clean bowl, cover and leave for 1 hour.
  3. To make the filling, combine the cabbage, carrot and onion in a bowl. Separate the eggs, being careful not to break the yolks, and set each yolk aside in a separate cup (this will make it easier to handle when assembling). Add the eggwhite to the vegetable mixture and combine well.
  4. To make the empanadas, divide the dough, vegetable mixture and minced sausage into 12 portions. Making one empanada at a time, roll out a portion of dough onto an oiled banana leaf into a nice thin round, about 12 cm in diameter. Arrange the vegetable mixture in a circle on the edge of the pastry, leaving a border on the outer edge, then place the minced sausage in the centre. Carefully place an egg yolk in the centre of the meat, then fold the empanada in half to make a semi-circle, pressing the edge to seal well. Set aside on its banana leaf base. Repeat with the remaining dough and fillings.
  5. Fill a large deep-sided saucepan or wok two-thirds full of oil and heat to 180°C or until a cube of bread turns golden in 15 seconds. To fry, dip the empanadas, one at a time, into the hot oil by holding the banana leaf in the oil until it separates from the empanada. Do not cook the leaf. Deep-fry until golden and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Serve hot with the cane vinegar dip.
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