|Course||Appetizer, main course|
|Place of origin||Galicia|
|Associated cuisine||Spanish, Argentinian, Ecuadorian, Sicilian, Mexican, Malaysian, Indonesian, Filipino, Colombian, Venezuelan|
|Main ingredients||Meat, cheese, corn, or other ingredients|
An empanada is a type of baked or fried turnover consisting of pastry and filling, common in Spanish, other Southern European, Latin American, and Iberian-influenced cultures around the world. The name comes from the Spanish empanar (to bread, i.e., to coat with bread), and translates as 'breaded', that is, wrapped or coated in bread. They are made by folding dough over a filling, which may consist of meat, cheese, tomato, corn, or other ingredients, and then cooking the resulting turnover, either by baking or frying.
The origin of empanadas is unknown but they are thought to have originated in Galicia, a region in northwest Spain. A cookbook published in Catalan in 1520, Llibre del Coch by Robert de Nola, mentions empanadas filled with seafood in the recipes for Catalan, Italian, French, and Arabian food. Predating the cookbook by two centuries, the book on Jewish Law, known as the Arba'ah Turim - whose author, Rabbi Jacob ben Asher was born in Cologne around 1270 (now in Germany) and died in Toledo (now in Spain) around 1340 - as well as the later work of the Shulchan Aruch (dated in the mid 1500s) in both Orach Chaim 318:16 and Yoreh Deah 112:6,113:3 - mention both "inpanada" and "panada" as describing a breaded product containing either fat, meat or fish on the inside.
Argentine empanadas are often served during parties and festivals as a starter or main course. Shops specialize in freshly made empanadas, with many flavors and fillings.
Every region of Argentina has its own characteristic variant.
Those of Salta are small, juicy and spicy, and contain potatoes, peppers and ground chili. The Jujuy variant adds peas and garlic. Its filling is called recado and the repulgue (method of closing the empanada) simbado. The La Rioja variant includes hard-boiled egg, red bell pepper, olives, and raisins. In Jujuy, there are two variants: criollas and arabes. Those of Santiago are considered especially juicy. Those of Catamarca are similar but smaller. Tucumán is known for the empanada creole; an annual National Empanada festival is held in Famaillá. Those of Famaillá are made with matambre and fried in good fat, competing with the entreveradas (mixed-grated), in which the matambre is mixed with chicken breast, garlic, ground chili, hard-boiled egg and cumin. Those of Mendoza are large and include olives and garlic. Those of San Juan have a higher proportion of onion, making them juicier and slightly sweet. Olives are also common and sometimes fat is also added to the recado or the dough. In San Luis they are big, seasoned with oregano and hot pepper, and kneaded with pork fat. In Córdoba, they were called[when?] "federal cake" or empanadas de Misia Manuelita, famous because pears boiled in wine with cloves were added to their filling. Today they are not so sweet but it is tradition to sprinkle them with sugar. In Traslasierra they add carrots and potatoes. In the Litoral, where immigrants from various parts of the world predominated, Santa Fe, Entre Ríos and Corrientes fill them with river fish, such as surubí (catfish) or dorado, or with white sauce and Goya cheese. In the Cordillera of Patagonia, they are made with lamb and on the coast with seafood. In Buenos Aires, the Creole empanada is so important that it has been declared a Cultural Heritage of Food and Gastronomy by the Argentine Ministry of Culture.
In Belize, empanadas are known as panades. They are made with masa (corn dough) and typically stuffed with fish, chicken, or beans. They are usually deep fried and served with a cabbage or salsa topping. Panades are frequently sold as street food.
Further information: Pastel (Brazilian food)
In Brazil, an empanada is called a pastel (pl. pastéis) and consists of half-circle or rectangle-shaped thin crust pies with assorted fillings, fried in vegetable oil. The result is a crispy, brownish fried pie. The most common fillings are ground meat, mozzarella, catupiry, heart of palm, codfish, cream cheese, chicken and small shrimp. Pastéis with sweet fillings such as guava paste with Minas cheese, banana and chocolate also exist.
Empanadas are a staple part of Chilean cuisine. Commonly consumed in large quantities during the country's national day celebrations, many Chileans consider this to be their most representative dish. The most representative variety being the oven-baked empanada de pino, which is filled with ground beef, minced onion, half or a quarter of a hard-boiled egg, and a single unpitted black olive.
Empanadas in Chile are eaten year-round and are either oven-baked or deep-fried; the latter is a popular street food.
Empanadas de viento or "windy" empanadas are fried, wheat-based empanadas stuffed with stringy cheese and sprinkled with sugar. They have been given this appellation for their inflated appearance as if they have been filled with air. Empanadas de viento can be made in cocktail size, appetizer size, and giant size, which is popular among the middle and working class. They are often eaten with coffee or with té de hierba luisa or lemon verbena tea.
Empanadas can be purchased from food stalls, markets, and restaurants. During religious holidays, women from the countryside fry empanadas at home and sell them in front of churches.
Empanadas de verde or plantain empanadas are plantain-based and filled with cheese and fried. These empanadas are most commonly found in the coastal regions of the country.
With the growth of Southern Cone and Colombian immigrants, wheat- and meat-based baked empanadas and corn-based empanadas have also become popular.
El Salvador is one of few countries where the empanada is made with plantain rather than a flour-based dough wrapping. A popular sweet variation, empanadas de platano are torpedo-shaped dumplings of dough made from very ripe plantains, filled with vanilla custard, fried, then rolled in sugar. They may alternatively have a filling made from refried beans rather than milk-based custard, but the flavour profile remains sweet rather than savoury.
In Indonesia, empanadas are known as panada. They are especially popular in Manado cuisine of North Sulawesi where their panada has a thick crust made from fried bread, filled with spicy cakalang fish (skipjack tuna) and chili, curry, potatoes or quail eggs. The panada in North Sulawesi was derived from Portuguese influence in the region. The dish is similar to karipap and pastel, although they have a thinner crust compared to panada.
Filipino empanadas usually contain ground beef, pork or chicken, potatoes, chopped onions, and raisins (somewhat similar to the Cuban picadillo), in a somewhat sweet, wheat flour bread. There are two kinds available: the baked sort and the flaky fried type. To lower costs, potatoes are often added as an extender, while another filling is kutsay (garlic chives).
Empanadas in the northern part of the Ilocos usually have savoury fillings of green papaya, mung beans, and sometimes chopped Ilocano sausage (chorizo) or longaniza and egg yolk. This particular variant is fried and uses rice flour for a crunchier shell. Empanadas can also be filled with mashed eggplant, scrambled eggs, and cabbage, which is called poqui poqui.
In Bulacan, empanada de kaliskis (lit. 'scale empanada'), uniquely has a flaky multilayered crust resembling scales, hence the name. In Cebu, empanada Danao is a characteristically sweet-savory variant. It is filled with chopped chorizo and chayote, deep-fried, and dusted in white sugar before serving. In Zamboanga, empanada Zamboangueño is filled with chopped sweet potato, garbanzo beans, and served with a sweet vinegar dipping sauce.
Dessert versions of empanadas also exist, notably empanaditas, which commonly have a filling of latik (coconut caramel), honey and nuts, or peanut butter. Kapampangan versions of empanaditas have a yema (custard) and cashew nut filling. In Cebu, sinudlan empanada is a small deep-fried empanada with bukayo (sweetened coconut meat) filling.
In France the traditional chaussons are made with a puff pastry dough filled with stew like daube or confit, or a bechamel sauce mixed with ham and/or cheese. They also exist in sweet version (see chausson aux pommes). They are half-moon shaped. If the shape is rectangular they receive the name of friand. One regional version is the pâté lorrain filled with pork meat cooked with wine and onions. All these versions are baked.
The fried versions can be made of puff pastry or shortcrust pastry and are called rissoles. The most famous is the rissole de Coucy, filled with meat or fish.
The Sicilian 'mpanatigghi are stuffed, consisting of half-moon-shaped panzarotti filled with a mixture of almonds, walnuts, chocolate, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and minced beef. These are typical of Modica, in the province of Ragusa, Sicily. They are also known by the italianized word impanatiglie or dolce di carne (pasty of meat).
They were probably introduced by the Spaniards during their rule in Sicily which took place in the sixteenth century; this is suggested by the etymology of the name which comes from the Spanish empanadas or empanadillas, as well as the somewhat unusual combination of meat and chocolate, which occurs occasionally in Spanish cuisine. In previous centuries, game meat was used in 'mpanatigghi; today beef is used.
Empanadas, mainly based on South American recipes, are widely available in New York City, New Jersey, and Miami from food carts, food trucks, and restaurants. Empanadas are usually found in U.S. areas with a large Hispanic population, such as San Antonio, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
Traditional Venezuelan empanadas are made with ground corn dough, though modern versions are made with precooked corn. The dough may have a yellow color when toasted due to the addition of annatto. The fillings are very diverse, with the most conventional being cheese, shredded beef, chicken, cazón (school shark) in the Margaritan Island region especially, ham, black beans and cheese (commonly called dominó) and even combinations of mollusks. The empanadas have a half-moon shape and are fried in oil. Sometimes, they may have more than one filling such as in empanadas de pabellón which are made with a shredded beef filling (or cazón in the Margarita Island region), black beans, slices of fried plantain, and shredded white cheese.
The empanada resembles savory pastries found in many other cultures, such as the molote, pirozhki, calzone, samosa, knish, kreatopitakia, khuushuur, and pasty.
In most Malay-speaking countries in Southeast Asia, the pastry is commonly called karipap (English: curry puff). Fried dumplings are found in Chinese cuisine (jiaozi) and in Vietnamese cuisine (bánh gối).
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