Vegan Maize Empanadas (Empanadas de humita)

Submitted by:
Ezequiel Gonzalez, Anisacate, Argentina
Insect ecology

Image Source: Author

Ingredients

Dough:
500g all-purpose wheat flour
50ml sunflower or canola oil
12g fine salt
200-250ml warm water

Filling:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
Grains of 4 fresh units or 2 cans maize
3 tablespoons corn starch:
50 ml milk (you can use any plant-based milk)
Salt and pepper
Serves for approximately 20 empanadas.

Filling:

1. Cut the onions in small squares and finely chop the garlic. Heat the olive oil on a pan and add the onions and garlic. Cook for approximately five minutes until the onion is golden and add the maize. Add salt and pepper to your taste and cook for five minutes more.

2. Mix the milk and corn starch in a small pot until well combined and add to the cooking mix. Mix with a wooden spatula continuously until the mix starts to get ticker. Then cook for one minute and let it cool.



Dough:

1. Mix all the ingredients together and knead well for 5-10 minutes in a floured surface. The dough should be soft, elastic and easy to handle. Let it rest for 15-30 minutes.

2. Heat an oven at 200°C.

3. With a rolling pin, flatten the dough in a large floured table until it is about 3 mm thick. Then use a circular bowl or a similar recipient with a 12-14 cm diameter to make circles (empanadas´ disks) with the dough. Cut the circles with a knife and separate. The remaining pieces of dough can be mixed and flattened again to make more disks until the dough is over.

4. With a cooking brush or a wet (clean) finger, put a bit of water along the border of each disk. Put one and a half tablespoons of the maize mix in the centre and fold the disk. You need to press along the border to close it, making it sure that no filling remains there. Here comes the hardest part, folding the border of the dough disks (making the “repulgue”). The easiest way is just using a fork and press it along the border to close it. For other types of folding, better to watch some YouTube videos (just search for “repulgues para empanadas”).

5. Put the empanadas on an oven tray with a baking sheet or a bit of oil. Cook for 15-25 minutes until both sides are golden. Let them cool for some minutes and enjoy.

Background

Empanadas are one of the most popular Argentinean dishes, although you can find similar preparations around the world. “Pan” in Spanish means bread, so empanadas mean something like “in bread”. It has a lot of different variations across the country and many different fillings. The most common is probably grounded beef meat, but maize is also very common and I wanted to share a vegan alternative. Other options include ham and cheese, chicken, caprese (tomatoes, mozzarella and basil), and spinach, among others.
It is a common meal for every day or to share in friends or family meetings. Although some persons cook them, they are also very common in many shops that sell their different variations. In Argentina, you can buy the dough disks ready to use directly in the supermarket, which makes the process much faster and simple. But this is not simple abroad and I learnt this recipe, which is not so complicated after you get used to it.

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