I recently did a search on this great cooking website I like to go to (TooManyChefs) and was kind of surprised that there was not one recipe for empanadas. Now maybe I should have searched for sambusac or some such related stuffed dough but I didn't. I think someone once did some samosas here.
The empanada is popular all around Ibero-America (been looking for a chance to use that word) and has been for many moons. Stuffed with, essentially, whatever is local - (if you'll allow me to generalize) fish on the coast, meat inland, potatoes and peas in poorer areas. Aside from what's inside, another line of demarcation is whether they are baked or fried. If you couldn't guess from the title of this post, they are almost always fried here (occasionally they are baked, but it's rare) and that's what we'll be doing too.
Here in Colombia, the most popular types are chicken (the more gourmet ones will have an olive and raisins in there as well), beef (usually with some potato), and cheese (which is rather sweet). Since I can't choke down more than one sweet cheese empanada (and because we keep a vegetarian kitchen), I'm choosing to use a tofu/okara mixture in these empanadas. If you're in the area, stop by Deli Soya (Cll 78 # 12-03) for lunch. The filling I'm using here are the burgers they sell for take away, which are nicely spiced. If you are going to use meat filling, cook and shred the meat before adding it as a filling.
Yellow corn flour
Filling of your choice
Put some flour in a big bowl. Add room temperature water and mix with your hand until you get something that resembles dough. I didn't measure how much flour or water, but I remember thinking it seemed like a lot of water, but it gets absorbed. Let sit for about 15 minutes.
Take a plastic bag and rip it so that it's one long sheet of plastic. Rub a little oil on the plastic and throw down a small ball of dough. Fold the plastic over and between the two sheets of plastic, roll out the dough to be fairly thin. Open up the plastic, put a teaspoon or two of filling on the dough, fold over the dough onto itself (with the plastic) and cut out an empanada with the top of a jar, etc (I was using an old yogurt container). When you lift the plastic, you should get a nicely pressed out stuffed ball of pastry. Hopefully the pictures below will give you an idea of what I'm trying to describe here.
Take those to the fryer for a few minutes on each side until the dough is crispy. Remove to paper towel and serve. Eat them all up, because they don't keep the fridge. The dough gets all weird.