Sep 14, 2012

History and Variations of Empanadas around the world

These pastries, filled with seafood, meat, cheese, vegetables or fruit are wildly popular throughout Latin and South America. Thought to have originated in Spain, where the Empanada Festival is part of Galician culture, the name comes from empanar, or to coat with bread. Variations of this form of portable meals are found in Cornish pasties, Italian calzone, or turnovers. They first appeared in the area during the time of the Moorish invasions. A cookbook published in Catalan in 1520, the Libre del Coch by Ruperto de Nola, mentions empanadas filled with seafood.

Most cultures have some sort of traditional "pocket" or meat pie food. It's quite simple -- they're very portable, easy to make and, of course, they don't have to be meaty.
Empanadas are the traditional Latin version of the "hot pocket" (an American version). When I was growing up, my mom who is from Spain, and was living in South America, used to make a version with meat, raisins and olives. There were also sweet ones filled with guava and cream cheese, apple, pumpkin among other flavors.
Empanadas can be also great as part of a “tapas” meal. Served as snacks/appetizers with a dipping sauce, the empanadas can be shared by everyone.
They can be plate sized, filled with a meat and vegetable mix for a main dish, or smaller, filled with fruit for dessert.
In Galicia and Portugal, an empanada is prepared similar to a large pie which is cut in pieces, making it a portable and hearty meal for working people. The filling of Galician and Portuguese empanada usually includes either tuna, sardines or chorizo. The filling also includes a tomato, garlic and onion sauce.
There are a lot variations of the empanada, and here are a few…
Cuba: Empanadas are typically filled with seasoned meats, usually ground beef (picadillo) or chicken, folded into dough and deep fried. Cubans also sometimes refer to empanadas as empanadillas. Cubans eat empanadas at any meal, but they usually consume them during lunch or as a snack.

Argentina: Many shops specialize in freshly made Empanadas  with lots of flavors and fillings. The dough is usually of wheat flour and butter with fillings differing from province to province: in some it is mainly chicken in others beef, while others include onion, boiled egg, olives, or raisins. Empanadas can be baked (Salta style) or fried (Tucuman style). They may also contain ham, fish, humita (sweetcorn with white sauce) or spinach. In restaurants where several types are served, a pattern is added to the pastry fold. These patterns indicate the filling.

Sweet Empanadas
Indonesia: Empanadas are known as panada or pastel. The panada, has thick crust made of fried bread, giving it bread texture and is filled with spicy tuna and chili peppers. The other less spicier version, called pastel, has thin crust makes it more crispy and a fillings typically made of finely diced potatoes, carrot, green onions, chicken, garlic, and glass noodles.
You can even make sweet ones as desserts with strawberry cream cheese, or pineapple raisin filling. For Indian version we already have a Gujiya – stuffed with Khoya!
Find the recipe of Empanadas Here.

P.S. Information and photos above are taken from google, Wikipedia and other varied sources on the internet.


  1. omg this is like sooooo helpful like i dont even know what to say like thank you so much

  2. Very helpful



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