Esnayder's Empanadas Paisas

Empanadas are the most traditional of Latin American dishes, with their origen in the north of Spain, introduced the by moors during the their ocupation. Today you can find empanadas on any Latin American high street, as one of our favourite street snacks. There are lots of types of empandas, as regional produce makes its way to the filling, which can be beef, chicken, pork, fish or vegetables. The Empanada dough is generally made with flour, and can be both baked or fried, but in countries like Colombia and Ecuador, empanadas are made with cooked corn or cornmeal. In the Caribbean the dough is made with a black beans puree. Empanadas are best served hot and often accompanied with a spicy salsa.
Esnayder Cuartas

Empanadas Paisas are traditional from Antiquia and the coffee region of Colombia where I come from. As a child I knew that if my mother was making empanadas, we were expecting a visitor. We all learnt the trade from our mother, but out of five, my sister Nidia and Liliana are the empanada queens. Nidia who recipe's I'm sharing we you, makes them using shreded beef, her empanadas are smaller, Liliana minces the beef and makes them bigger. The basis is the same, but the filling inside is down to you. Depending on the size, empanadas can be served as a canape, starter, main course of dessert, depending on the filling. Empanadas are great party dish as they can be made in advance and fry or baked them just before you served them.


  • 500 grs  beef brisket
  • 20 grs  each of spring and red onions, chopped
  • 10 grs cumin seeds
  • Salt and salt
  • 40 ml  of  vegetable oil
  • 500 ml water
  • 125 grs each of chopped red onions and chopped spring onios
  • 4 small tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 400 grs (4 medium-sized) potatoes, boiled with skin
  • cumin s
  • salt & pepper
  • 500. dry yellow corn or you can use conrmeal
  • salt

The night before, marinate the meat with the onions,  spring onios, salt, pepper and ground cumin seed. Cover the pan. The next day, brown the meat in the vegetable oil. Then return the marinade and add water. Cook until meat is tender (40 min). Remove and  shreded the beef (you can you prefer grind meat). Save the water.

Sauté the onions and spring onions in oil. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry an additional 3 or 4 minutes. Mix in the ground meat and meat stock and cook for about 10 minutes. Peel and mash the cooled, boiled potatoes and add them to the meat and vegetable mixture. Mix the salt, pepper and ground cumin seed into the meat and potato mixture. You can add triguisar which is a safron mix you can get at the latin markets for the seasoning

Apart, boil the dry yellow corn meal in sufficient water to cover the corn, for about half an hour. The key to a good dough is not  to overcooked the corn Put the cooked corn through a grinder. Alternatively you can use cornmeal, follow the instructions on the packet, make sure the cornmeal is cooked. Make sure you cooked the cornmeal otherwise the dough is going to crumble.

To the ground corn add the salt. Knead the dough until it is thoroughly mixed and forma a firm ball. Pick off small pieces and form into the size of small balls. Flatten each piece thin, with the help of a piece of plastic and a rolling pin. Put about 1 teaspoon of the meat mixture in the center of the flattened ball, this is depending how big you would like to make them. Fold over and pinch edges together to close and form a pretty edge, using a cup, form a half moon, cut it, put them in the fridge, until you are ready to fry. Place in deep, hot vegetable oil and fry about 3 or 4 minutes until golden brown. Remove and put on paper towels in a colander. Serve immediately or reheat in a paper bag in the oven prior to using. The meat mixture can be made in advance and stored in the freezer, but the dough must be made fresh the day of use.

Makes about 60 empanadas

Served with Aji.


  • 300 ml of vinegar
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1 bunch coriander
  • 2 red hot chili peppers
  • 2 medium red onions

Finely chop the onions and cilantro. Blend the chili peppers with the vinegar. Mix everything together adding salt, and cummins  ( this is very occasionally)to taste.

You can try Esnayder's delicious empanadas at his next Supper Club, a 1940s Dining experience in the committee Room at the Hornsey Town Hall as part of La Clave Festival. For info and tickets