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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Vegan Empanadas ( A LATAM cousin of the desi Karanji/Gujiya )

Ok....plz try not to look too shocked/septical!! Why on earth is she calling the good old Karanji/Gujiya something so alien ? Empanadas......what next ??? Long forgotten memories of a grandmother stuffing up the rolled out dough with a sweetened coconut/mawa filling and crimping it before frying it in oil evoke a strong sense of nostalgia which makes the rebellion even more poignant.

I would like to share that even my first reaction was on the same lines. It was the market challenge of Masterchef Australia Season 6 that made me aware of the existence/popularity of this fried/baked snack in the Latin American region. It is simply defined a snack made by folding dough around a sweet or savory stuffing. The savory variety is definitely more popular going by the sheer number of recipes on the net and it could be anything ranging from meat, cheese, corn, mushrooms and even sauteed/fried veggies.

The baked variety is healthier in comparison but as far as the taste is concerned, the fried stuff definitely takes the crown. Maybe I will stick to the baked variety on regular days and just save up on the calories for a festive occasion. Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 1 hour

Ingredients -

For the dough -

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp hot oil
  • 1/2 tsp pepper powder
  • 2 pinch baking powder
  • salt to taste
  • cold water for making dough
  • oil for deep frying

For the stuffing -

  • 1 1/2 cup green peas
  • 1 small potato (boiled & peeled)
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/ 3 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/3 tsp grated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 pinch garam masala
  • 2 pinch turmeric
  • 2 tsp oil
  • salt to taste

Preparation - Take the all purpose flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the hot oil and rub in. Then add water, very little at a time and knead into a stiff dough. Cover with a damp cloth/little oil and keep aside for sometime. Knead it once again after 30 mins. It should feel smooth else repeat the process once again.

Cooking - Heat 2 tsp oil in a wok. Add the cumin seeds followed by the onion, ginger and garlic. Fry for sometime till the raw smell goes away. Add the potato and the green peas along with all the spices. Cook covered for 5-6 mins. Lightly mash the potato and green peas mixture with the back of a heavy spoon. Allow it to cool down to room temperature.

Pinch small portions of the dough and shape into a flattened disc. Dust a working surface and roll out the discs into small circles. Put some of the potato and green peas mixture in one half of the circle leaving out some space on the edges. Apply water along the circumference before folding it into a half moon shape. Use a fork to make crimp patterns on the sealed edge. Repeat the process with the remaining dough and stuffing.

Heat sufficient oil in a wok. Add the empanadas one or two at a time. Fry on one side till brown before turning over and frying the other side as well.

Serve immediately.

Note - If preparing for Navratras, leave out the onion and garlic. Add some shredded cabbage or grated carrots instead. Add some raisins and nuts also if you like.


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