Empanadas Tucumanas

Empanadas Tucumanas (Fried Bolivian Empanadas)

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When I was in college I discovered these amazing empanadas. I attended the University Mayor de San Simon (UMSS) and on the corner of Sucre and Oquendo every morning between 9 and 10 am, you would see 20 to 30 students constantly piling around this street cart food that sold tucumanas calientes with unless 6 different sauces to go with them. As a students I was hungry all the time and having this lunch-sized meal early in the morning gave me the energy to continue with my long day of classes. They were delicious and they were so cheap, costing only 2Bs ($.35 cents). The first time I tried them, I was surprised by the size the empanada, the combination of flavors, and the big piece of chicken inside. I couldn’t imagine how they could fit so many delicious things in a hand-sized empanada. You eat tucumanas by biting open the top and adding any sauces that you want so each bite has a different taste with a different sauce. I miss my college time and I miss this amazing street food. Enjoy!

Serves 16

Ingredients:

Filling

2 large russet potatoes

1 large carrot

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 big red onion cut it in small squares

1/2 lb short cut steak chopped into small squares

1/2 red pepper cut in thin small slices

2 tbsp parsley

1 tbsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

2 tbsp canola oil

4 hard boiled eggs

Kalamata olives without seed (optional)

2 cups canola oil

Dough:

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup canola oil

1 cup hot water (not boiling)

Preparation:

Filling

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Peel and cut the potatoes into small squares.

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Peel and cut the carrots in small squares the same size as the potatoes. The carrots, peas and potatoes should all be the same size. Put them in a pot with water and salt. After it boils for 2 min take them out and drain them. We don’t want to overcook the carrots or potatoes, they need to be firm. Set aside.

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Peel and dice the onion in small squares. Clean the  extra fat or nerve cells from the meat and cut it in small square pieces. It is very important to cut the meat by hand (cannot use ground beef), it keep the juices better when cooked.

Cut 1/2 of the red pepper in small thin strips.

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Cook the onion in 2 tbsp of oil for about 3 min or until onions are clear add the meat and pepper and cook for 3 min, add the parsley, cumin and oregano. Mix. Add the salt, sugar and cayenne pepper and cook until meat is tender for about 5 min, we don’t want it to be dried. Let it cool and set aside.

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Mix the potatoes, carrots, peas and meat mix in a large bowl. Cover and reserve while we do the dough.

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Hard boil the eggs. Peel and cut them in four pieces.

Dough

In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt.

Add the hot water and mix with a spoon.  Add the oil and mix with your hands until you have a easily manageable dough. The dough doesn’t have to be sticky, don’t over-kneed the dough. Cover with seran wrap and let it sit for 15 min.

Cut the dough in half and keep the other half covered. Cut the half in 8 pieces.

Roll each piece one at the time until they are slightly larger the  size of your hand, not too thin.

Heat 2 cups of canola oil

Prepare one empanada at the time.

Put the dough in your hand add one slice of egg and 3 tbsp of the meat mix. Carefully close the two endings of the dough with your hand, making sure the filling doensn’t come out.

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Cook in the hot oil until brown or golden color. Put it to on top of paper towel.

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Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling. These tucumanas should ideally be eaten the same day, but they can be refrigerated and reheated at 160 for 10 mins.

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Pukacapas

Pukacapas

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The name of this empanada is Spanish-Quechua. Puka in Quechua means red and Capa in Spanish has two meanings: layer, cape. I think the name evolved because you have a nice round red layer that is the shape of a cape that covers the empanada, so it makes sense to called them Pukacapas.

We love our mid afternoon snacks and I love this pukacapa recipe because of the filling.  I used to eat it with an helado de canela (cinnamon gelato) or a good juice made of dry peaches called Mokhochinchi.

 

 

Makes 15 units of Pukacapas

I will describe the process step by step on give the ingredients for each step
Filling
1 medium red onion shredded ( ⅓ cup shredded red onion)
8 oz Fresh cheese or Monterrey Jack

2 tbsp shredded hot pepper
1 tbsp chopped quilquiña or cilantro
1 egg
Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl and put aside.

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Red dough wash
2 Tbsp paprika
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp water
Mix all ingredients and set aside.  It has to be well mixed.

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Dough
2 Cups flower
5 Tbsp Crisco
2 eggs yolks
3 Tbsp white sugar
2 Tsp salt
1 1/2 Tsp dry yeast
¼ Cups water

Sift the flower in a mixing bowl. Shape the flower in volcano shape. Heat the crisco close to boil. Add this hot oil to the flour, you will see how the flower effervesces. Mix with a wooden spoon.

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Disolve the yeast in the water.

Add this mix to the flour  along with the eggs yolks , salt and sugar. Mix until all the ingredients are well mixed in the dough. It’s very important to knead the dough forcefully on the table the dough for at least 5 min. (My Mom slams the dough down on the table, throwing it from up high for about 3 minutes). Make a nice ball and divide in 30 pieces.

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Shape each piece in small balls and with a roller pin, flatten each piece until it’s the size of the cup,. If the dough is a little bit too sticky, add some flour to your surface working area.

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After all of them are flat, add 1 tbs of the filling mix in the center of the 15 discs, making sure ther is a nice pile with no filling on the edges of the disc. Use another disc to cover and press well to seal the edges. After sealed, do a nice braid twist around the edges of the dough. If you don’t know out to braid the dough, you can use a fork to press the edges down.

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Preheat the oven to 350F

Put the pukacapas on a baking sheet and using a brush, cover with the paprika and yolk mix.

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Bake them for 15 min the bottoms look golden.

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