Stunning Empanadas


Herve Leger. A 1980’s designer who made clothing for women that looked like they were bound or bandaged in ribbons or tape. A chic mummified look. And something Yasmeen Ghauri, an utterly stunning supermodel of that era, wore and was photographed in; a vision I have never forgotten. While my college roommates swooned at the site of the blondes, I thought Yasmeen Ghauri was far more exotic… :) Odd how stuff like this sticks in your memory bank but I can’t remember my own telephone number… Anyway, these empanadas remind me of Herve Leger’s clothes… and they look simply stunning…


I have no idea how the dough is made, though i suspect it is made in several layers then cut at an angle and rolled somehow, so that when it is fried it comes out looking like the photos here. If any of you have a dough recipe you are willing to share, I would love to hear about it. These fried empanadas came from a vendor at the Salcedo market, offering these and other specialties from Bacolod. I didn’t get their names but they are located relatively close to the Tommy’s coffee stand. These empanadas were filled with chicken and some raisins…


While the empanadas looked great, I have to say I was a little disappointed by the taste. A bit too sweet for me (though I understand most folks probably like the sweetness) and I thought the empanadas were probably fried the day before, if not earlier. Nothing like a freshly fried empanada, and I am sure these ones would have tasted much better straight out of the hot oil… They did look stunning, however.


45 Responses

  1. My first thought when I saw the top picture was “i don’t think these taste good.” I am familiar with these reasonably-priced empanadas which look pretty but are too doughy and the filling wasn’t good. I prefer baked empanadas as not only are they healthier, they avoid that greasy taste & feel and re-heat nicely in the oven. Some empanadas have a filling close to chicken pot pie. And I have encountered those resembling a cupcake. They were baked in a cupcake liner and also had a dough cover. Different presentation for a chicken pie.

  2. I agree with Zena. I’ve seen these (admittedly, beautiful) types of empanadas before, and often, I’m disappointed with the taste. My favorite empanadas (for both taste and texture) are San Lo’s Famous (super buttery, tender crust, and huge), Red Ribbon (cheap & reliable), and Conti’s (most prefer the chicken, I like the ham).

  3. …although it looks like the empanada of my childhood…the layered dough, and fried. sorry it didn’t taste as good as it looked, MM. good topic though–now we’ll read where the best empanadas are.

    dee bee posted this in your last empanada post (12/20/07)
    the teacher rolled out the dough quite thinly, rolled it up like a log, cut it into thick discs, then rolled the discs to make it bigger and thinner. each is then filled, crimped, and deep-fried. the product has this beautiful flaky crust with concentric(?) lines running around the empanada. i’ve heard that this is one of the traditional ways to make it.

    i do keep most of your posts in my memory bank, MM,as old as it is…

  4. natie, GOOD GRIEF, that is stunning that you would remember that… I hadn’t thought to review comments in previous empanda posts… hmmm, that description sounds good enough for me to try it someday! Thanks for reminding me!

  5. yikes, your ‘on-line”! scrolling down, bettyq(marthe stewart herself) posted a delicious-sounding recipe, too..

    not a day goes by without a market manila browse, MM. the stock market post is a hoot–love it. my retirement fund is probably in a precarious state..i say probably because i haven’t checked yet.

  6. MM, these are called empanada kaliskis. I remember enrolling in one of the cooking schools here in manila in the late ’80s and this recipe was included. What i remember doing was to dip the dough in oil then roll and fold and doing this procedure many times to achieve the kaliskis effect. I lost the recipe. I agree with zena, katrina and natie that it doesn’t taste as good as it looks

  7. MM, the secret to empanadang kaliskis (and the turn-off for me, actually) is to brush plenty of oil or lard on the big rectangle of dough before rolling it up. then you cut 1-inch pieces from the dough, roll it some more just to thin it out a bit, and then put the filling, and fold over, before frying in some more of that lard.

    although this looks stunning, i prefer the regular baked empanada (not “kaliskis”) because this tends to get too oily.

  8. there’s a house in Kamuning that sells these, mountains of these in bilaos for office parties, pasalubong and the like. Not spectacular but tasty enough and but brings back childhood memories.

  9. hullo, all! =) ragamuffin girl beat me to it! haha! when i saw the pic, i thought that MM was going to talk about the kamuning empanadita. while it’s not particularly delicious and the others are correct to say that it s quite oily, it does hit the spot when you manage to get a batch freshly cooked and you chase it down with a [insert ice cold softdrink of choice here]! as far as memories go, i always remember rotc when i eat this for some reason.. weird no? haha.. hope you re all safe and well. =)

  10. The best empanadas that I’ve ever tasted were in Paoay, Ilocos Norte, just behind the great Paoay Church. Vegetables, garlic, and heavenly longganisa were the filling. The only turn-off was the color of the dough, which was bright orange. The taste more than made up for it, though, and the orange color mellowed a bit after frying.

  11. MM – Yasmeen and Herve Leger! Nice intro to an empanada post! I fully agree with you… Yasmeen was the best looking model during her time and Herve still makes beautiful clothes. MM – I christen thee the “Foodie Fashionista”.

  12. There’s this tiny empanada shop on the right side coming down from Tagaytay via the Sta. Rosa Laguna-way. Next time y’all travel south in “our” direction, have a try of the Tagaytay empanada. Would love to read your comments about it.

  13. I find that the empanadang kaliskis with the finest dough is the empanada from Merced Bakeshop on EDSA in between West Avenue and Quezon Avenue. My mother still lives in that area and that is one of their products that has withstood time.

  14. Reminds me of the Montoya empanadas in kamuning and the times my mom would ask me to buy it whenever we would have parties. I never really liked it though.

  15. Hey MM, …just as my boys were looking for something to eat at 9 a.m. in the morning, I decided to make empanadas after checking out what’s on your blog…so empanadas it is! …though I know that making the dough is labour intensive …which puts off many NANAYS in trying paricular way of making the dough…I have manged to find a way to do this without pulling your hair, mga Mrs.!!! so go to your kitchen and try this…In 15 minutes, I have managed to make 20 empanadas like the one pictured above…but best of all, it is FLAKY, AND NOT AT ALL OILY!!! MM, you have to try it and let me know!!! I do urge you mga MRS. to try this..Hey, RoBStaR …here’s another one for you to try this week-end!!!

    SO…make a dough consisiting of 2 cups of all-purpose flour,1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tbsp.sugar, 4 tbsp. lard (I had leftover Tenderflake) or you can use margarine or butter, 8 to 10 tbsp. water. i HAD TO ADD 10 TBSP. WATER TO get it to the consisitency I want. Just mix this together to a smooth dough and knead BRIEFLY. Then make another dough consisting of 1 cup all-purpose flour and 4 to 6 tbsp. lard or Crisco. Mix this to a pasty dough like drywall paste.
    Roll out the first dough to a rectangle but not too thin. Spread the pasty dough on one half of the rectangle. Fold the other half over it. Now, make sure there are no air pockets! Roll the dough THINLY. Starting from the top, roll down to make a baston. Then flatten the dough whacking it with your rolling pin. Now start rolling it out again thinly. You will have a REEEEEAAAAAALY LOOOOOOONG rectangle At this point, divide the dough into thirds. NOw, STARTING FROM LEFT HAND SIDE (NOT top to bottom!) roll each third into a baston…..Now, if I had more time and wasn’t in a hurry…ideally, put his dough (3 bastons) in the refrigerator for about 2 hours before cutting them into pieces…Cut each section into 2 inch pieces depending on how big you want your empanada. Put cut side up and roll and fill. My boys like curried beef so I have frozen filling most of the time. …makes it easier to use and not messy! Deep fry until golden…on medium low heat. Once removed from the oil, drain on paper towels…you will see the KALISKIS as Millet pointed out. ….flaky and YUMMY!!!

    Hey, Millet, try my way and hopefully it won’t turn you off!….It is not at all oily…NO OIL OOZING OUT!!! You can even use this dough to make hopia!


  16. Oh, I forgot…once you have formed your discs make sure the edges are really , really thin so when you crimp them, it isn’t soooo bulky!…also, the 4 tbsp. lard for the first dough, i used “tancha” method…I must have used 4 Heaping TBSPs. ….I don’t like washing more utensils than I need to!!!

  17. there she GOES!!! love it–bettyq!! i’m an admirer!

    my lazy short cut?? pillsbury biscuit or dinner roll tubes in the refrigerated section….pop them open. roll ’em and stick whatever filling you desire. last one was apple turn-over…super lazy, no??

  18. Hey Natie….nope! You are not super lazy…What you are is being RESOURCEFUL!!!! Aren’t we all Nanays looking for ways all the time to make our lives easier? Each time I try something new which can be so time consuming…I always tell myself that there HAS TO BE an easier way to do it and I won’t stop until I find it!!!…that’s the Capricorn in me talking!

  19. Hey Millet: here’s something for you to try next time you have a catering…Cut your baston pieces about 3/4 inch. Roll each pieceinto about 2 inch circles. …put your filling in the center of the disc, cover with another rolled out disc. Pinch edged really, really thin and crimp…You will have something like a flying saucer. Deep fry. Makes super, yummy wonderufl appys that will DISAPPEAR before you can even BLINK!!!!…I made this the other day with leftover adobo!!!!

  20. The empanadas at Merced Bakeshop come from an abscure house behind the Church in Meycauayan, Bulacan. They produce only small batches daily so you have to order the day before to be sure of being served. The present kaliskis is good and fine but it was flakier and more delicate 20 years ago.

  21. There are a lot of empandas that look like this but our favorite are those made by the family of Emma Lacson in Silay (they are one of the original “manug-libod” kitchens). They’re really crunchy, flaky and filled with either chicken or pork. May I suggest that you re-heat it in a toaster oven for a short while to make it a bit crunchy again.

  22. I love it when betty q starts her quests. You my dear are a life saver! I used the old method of doing this and now I have one that is a lot easier and faster. Now all I have to do is go to the grocery and buy lard (he he).

  23. Oh, wow, my brother and I just made empanadas (the baked kind) last Sunday. Our lola’s family used to own a bakery in Guagua, Pampanga. Our mom’s generation learned how to make them but, apparently, no one actually wrote down the recipes. Well, their memories are not exactly sharp these days. Thank goodness one aunt (a cousin of our mom), who still makes them, moved to Houston. So, my brother and I went to visit her a few weeks ago to learn how to make empanadas. She makes it by “tancha” so we had to measure everything before recording the recipe. It is supposed to be a family secret. She said that the ones with ground pork filling are the half moon shaped. Chicken empanadas are the ones that are full moon shaped.

    She also makes the fried one (with the “kaliskis”) but does not like it as much as it is more tedious to make and are, obviously, more oily. Perhaps I will ask her to teach us to make them anyway. I also want to learn the family recipes for ensaimadas, san nicolas, inipit, etc. Writing the family recipes down has been a project I have been wanting to undertake.

  24. MM, ….I didn’t feel like going to the grocery store at 9 a.m. Sat. morning ..pouring rain here as well!…so I just used whatever I had in the fridge…that I needed to use up. I had Crisco as well in the freezer but I was saving that for my pie crust. If I had Crisco and Lard that needed both to be used for this empanada, I would use the Crisco first before I would touch the lard. I have done both empanadas using either one and they both were utterly yummy!!!

    MM, Natie and Kulasa: Make sure the Crisco or lard is well chilled and cut them into the flour until really crumbly before adding your water preferably chilled too. Be sure to refrigerate the baston for a good 2 hours or more before you cut the into pieces….makes them easier to handle and really, really flaky after cooking them.

    I think the ones that turn out oily is made up of 2 doughs as well…the first one uses OIL instead of Crisco or lard…the “drywall paste” is made up of flour and Crisco. My cousin uses this kind of dough when she makes her hopia.

    MM, if you have leftover dough, try to make some hopia…you have access to good, purple ube (I don’t!), so make a really makunat haleya and use that as your filling! Hay, it is sooooooooo good!

  25. bettyq, thanks for sharing the recipe. i have to try this method as i think my original method of making empanadas are just too tedious and gives too much strain on my arm muscles. hehe. Will post feedback once I get the chance to try this.

  26. MM,
    Like Bety Q said, I have this recipe for hopia, way back from the 1980’s, which I’ve been using. It may well be what you’re looking for:
    2 1/4 c. All Purpose Flour (sifted)
    1/2 c. water
    1 1/2 T. sugar
    1 T. Corn syrup
    1/2 c pork lard (crisco will do or ordinary veg.
    Dissolve sugar and corn syrup in water. Place flour in a bowl, make a well in the center and pour water mixture. Gently stir and add pork lard. Mix just to incorporate ingredients with flour. DONT overmix or knead. Form into a ball, cover and set aside.
    1 c. a. p. flour
    1/2 c. pork lard

    The procedure for rolling is EXACTLY the same as puff pastry which results in several layers. (Please refer to puff pastry instructions) After last rolling, roll dough to a cylinder and cut into 1/3 in. circles. Flatten with rolling pin and fill as you would empanadas, flute edges.
    Actually this recipe is for hopia. I fill them with ube haleya, brush tops with egg yolk and milk mixture then bake in oven (400 deg.F) until golden brown.

  27. I know these empanadas – they’re actually a poor copy of Baylon’s empanada of Bacolod… the BEST empanada that anyone can have is the empanada of my childhood and that’s Baylon’s (who, also, by the way, make THE BEST piyaya in Bacolod) Baylon’s stuff isn’t commercial at all – you can find them somewhere in Bacolod – you can find the old store, but only with some difficulty – and I believe you can also have what they make somewhere in Bangkal, here in Makati

  28. I was just looking at a picture of Silay’s panara in Memories of Philippine Kitchens and was wondering how they made those ridges. Thanks betty q. for posting the technique. Would the ridges would still show up if you bake them instead of frying them.

  29. Thank you so much, MM for the enlightenment!

    Michael: I think the ridges would still show if you bake them, ..Just like Homebuddy said…she uses hers to make hopia which is baked…I have a lot of dough leftover from yesterday but no more filling. I will make some chicken and let you know tom.

  30. Hey Michael: Yup, there were”kaliskis” even when baked! …didn’t feel like going out to buy chicken …so spicy sardines empanada turned out really good!…it was flaky as well. But if I were to bake my empanadas, I usually use a different kind of dough . It is similar to the one you buy at Chinese bakeries…their bbq pork or chicken turnover. It is more buttery and flaky at the same time. It is a bit time consuming as well BUT WORTH every effort!!!!

  31. Thanks betty. That was quick! Empanadas are so versatile. You can fill it with just about anything.

  32. bettyq, thanks for the generosity with the recipes, and the patience to try them out even commenter’s ideas…and so fast, too.

    we only do dessert catering, but since my husband and two boys are always hungry, i’m always on the lookout for new things to cook and bake. also, when my work stresses me, i cook and bake.

  33. Hello MM,just google “Huaiyang Flaky Pastry” and you’ll find an easy way to do this spiral pastry.

  34. Haha, you’re so right, MM, when I look at the empanada, I recall the fashionable electric pleats of yesteryears!

  35. Betty Q, if you’re interested with a piyaya recipe, I have one but will post it later.
    Its so nice to be able to reciprocate with your recipe posts.

  36. Linda,
    Yes, Huaiyang Flaky Pastry”, it is the perfect link for instructions on how to make that dough with spiral effect.

  37. When I become a size four, the first thing I’ll do is to buy an HL dress on Madison Avenue. I love them!

  38. Hi, MM! I just tasted this empanada from Sombrero Bakeshop.
    Actually, this was served during our seminars when everybody was so sleepy. Lo and behold! the taste really perked us up.

    I do not know the exact address but its somewhere in Malate, Manila. I think their phone number is: 718-0887.

  39. Wow, Herve Leger! I also like Yasmeen Ghauri, i think she looks better than Claudia, Linda, Christy, etc. BTW, The house of Herve Leger is being revived BCBG’s Max Azria.



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