Last weekend I decided to indulge a little in the kitchen, and put some more effort than I usually do for my go-to dishes. Checking out some cooking videos for inspiration, I came across Peruvian chef, Flavio Solorzano’s fish empanadas, and decided to make a variation of this Latin American all-time-favorite food. And what better than cooking fish or seafood to make a meal special and extra nutritious, right? I found some beautiful meaty scallops in the supermarket, and filled the cart with “oriental” veggies for my stir-fry. Then, after looking at Flavio’s video on youtube a couple times, and once I felt I had mastered the art of making fried empanadas, I dove into it.
It really was as easy as it looked. I made the empanada dough without measuring quantities, but going more with how it felt in my hands (soft and maneagable like plasteline; not dry but not too sticky either). Then I did a good ol’ sauté with the veggies & scallops, plus added lemon, chili powder, and (my favorite) ginger. I filled the empanadas, fried them up, and what do you know? Oriental empanadas were ready to go!
They made a great weekend appetizer, but I think they would be fantastic also as an hors d’oeuvre at a dinner or lunch party. Easy and fun to eat with the hands, and bursting with flavor. I decided to go with Mitsukan’s Ponzu Citrus Soy Sauce to dip them in, since I always like to eat my seafood with a dash of lemon, and not to brag, but they were delicious!
Oriental Empanadas, with Citrus Soy Sauce (serves eight)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 large carrot
- 1 bunch spring onions
- a handful mangetout
- 1 shallot
- 2 garlic cloves
- a piece of ginger
- 1/2 lemon
- 8-10 scallops
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- salt and pepper
- Oil for frying
- Mitsukan Ponzu Citrus Soy Sauce to dip
-Chop all the vegetables and sauté in a pan or wok with oil, at medium/high heat, until cooked. Add the chili powder, lemon juice, salt and pepper. When ready, add the scallops (cut in small pieces), and cook for an extra 2 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
-To make the dough, mix flour and salt, add water and oil and knead with your hands. If it’s too dry add some more water. Make sure it’s easy to handle (not too sticky).
-On a clean and dry surface of your kitchen counter, spread some flour, and roll the dough until it’s thin and flat (about 1-2mm thin).
-Cut the dough in circles with a small soup bowl or large cup. A round cookie cutter is perfect for this.
-Put some of the vegetable/scallop saute on half the circle, and then fold the other half on top, and close the empanadas, pressing with your fingers. You can use a fork to seal the edge if you want.
-Heat a lot of oil in a pan, over medium/high heat (there should be enough oil to cover the whole empanada when you put it in the pan). When it starts to bubble and sizzle, add the empanadas, just 1 or 2 at a time. Fry for a few minutes until golden and but do not let them brown.
-Transfer to a dish covered with paper towels, so that it absorbs the excess oil.
-Serve hot, with Mitsukan Ponzu Citrus Soy Sauce on the side.