Empanadas are a kind of baked or fried dumplings consisting of pastry & filling where the filling is wrapped or coated in a bread or dough. They can be described as siblings of Indian Gujiya, which are usually sweet dumplings made by coating dough around sweet fillings prepared from mawa or sooji along with coconut & dry fruits. The filing inside however is varied for everyone but the dough is rolled into crescent shaped pockets, where the fillings are stuffed & sealed at the edges to be deep fried in oil.
Empanadas might have originated in Galicia in the northwest Spain and Portugal and were carried to Latin America and Philippines by the Spanish colonists where they became very popular. These empanadas were usually stuffed with meat, fish or seafood cooked in tomato, onion and garlic sauce. The stuffing inside empanadas have many more variations now and it varies among different cultures and traditions. The sweet and the vegetarian savoury empanadas are also quite popular nowadays. Although the stuffing have many variations, the outer coat remains almost the same which are crescent shaped pastries prepared from all purpose flour and oil or butter. Empanadas are gaining huge popularity in the entire United States and all its adjoining regions and have the potential to attain a panglobal presence. The name “Empanada” is thought to have derived fom the word “Empanar” in spanish which means to wrap or coat in bread.
Indian Gujiya or Gujiya(s) are a very similar avatar of these empanadas. However, there are no evidences of common roots to their origin. The origin of Gujiya(s) dates back to 13th century and are found to have originated from the Baklava of Turkey. Since empanadas are considered to have originated in around 16th century, Gujiyas can be assumed as more primitive, which are believed to be the successors of popular Samosa or Sambuca, which came from the middle-east. Therefore, if we relate these facts, it can be inferred that the Samosa may be the predecessor of all these wheat-based stuffed pastries which are either fried or baked.
Stories apart, let us now have a look in the recipe below for my savoury Gujiya(s) with a slight variation as I have replaced maida with whole wheat (atta) for preparing the coat of these pastries for making them little healthy and guilt free. Try out these yummy soya mushroom empandas in this festive season and have fun :
A. For coating :
- Whole grain wheat (atta) – 1 or 2 cup as per your requirement.
- Refined oil – 3 to 4 tbs for very 1 cup.
- Salt – A pinch or two.
- Oil (for deep frying) – ½ cup.
B. For filling :
1. Soya granules or finely chopped soya chunks – 1 cup
2. Button mushroom (finely chopped) – ¾ cup.
3. Carrot ( grated or chopped) – ¾ cup.
4. Peas (boiled) – ½ cup.
5. Green chillies (finely chopped) – 2 to 3.
6. Coriander leaves (finely chopped) – 1 or 2 tbsp.
7. Onion (chopped) – 1 big.
8. Garlic (chopped) – 2 cloves.
9. Ginger (chopped) – 1 tsp.
10. Dry red chilli – 1.
11. Turmeric powder – ½ tsp.
12. Red chilli powder – ½ tsp.
13. Aamchoor Powder – 1 tsp.
14. Chaat masala – 1 tsp.
15. Sugar – ¼ tsp.
16. Salt – as per taste.
17. Oil – 2 tbsp.
A. For filling :
1. Heat oil in a pan. When the oil is hot enough, add dry red chilli and saute it for some time till it turns darker.
2. Add chopped onions and fry them till golden, over a medium flame.
3. Add chopped ginger, sauté for a while and then add garlic.
4. Fry the mixture over a low flame for 2-3 minutes.
5. Add turmeric powder & red chilli powder and mix well.
6. Add soya granules and mix, sauté the mixture for some time over low flame.
7. Add chopped mushrooms and boiled peas, and mix well. Add aamchoor powder, chaat masala, green chillies, salt and sugar and mix them nicely.
8. Stir for another five minutes till the mixture is cooked well.
9. Add coriander leaves and stir.
10. Add grated carrots lastly to retain its crunchiness, mix and cook for another one minute.
11. Switch off the flame, bring down the mixture and keep it aside for using later.
B. For making the dough for coat :
1. Take wheat flour in a mixing bowl, add salt & oil and mix well using your hand. The mixture will have a texture similar to the bread crumbs.
2. Add required amount of water to make a soft dough.
3. Take small portions of the dough and roll into chapati of medium thickness.
4. Cut out small roundels from the chapati using a bowl or cutter.
5. Place small amount of the filling over one half of the roundel and fold the roundel from the other side to bring the ends together giving it a crescent shape. Seal the edges using your fingers.
6. Heat oil in a pan and deep fry them till golden brown in colour.
7. Bring down and spread over a tray lined with tissue to soak the extra oil.
8. Your hot and crispy empanadas are now ready to be gorged on. Serve with any sweet & sour dip of your choice. (Note : Have them hot to enjoy the crispiness)
Have loads of fun and make your festival a delicious one.😊