Empanadas Tucumanas (Fried Bolivian Empanadas)
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!
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
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup hot water (not boiling)
Peel and cut the potatoes into small squares.
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.
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.
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.
Mix the potatoes, carrots, peas and meat mix in a large bowl. Cover and reserve while we do the dough.
Hard boil the eggs. Peel and cut them in four pieces.
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.
Cook in the hot oil until brown or golden color. Put it to on top of paper towel.
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.