A Guam favorite made vegan, these CHamoru style empanådas are crispy on the outside, and filled with a delicious spicy toasted rice filling. Its beautiful red hue is what makes this different and totally unique to the island of Guam. It’s perfect for on-the-go, quick meal, and the perfect afternoon snack.
- 1 cup – soy curls, see notes
- 3 cups – vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup – uncooked white rice, I used Jasmine rice, see notes
- 1/2 onion, roughly diced
- 3 garlic cloves, roughly minced
- 1/2 teaspoon – poultry seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon – garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon – chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon – soy sauce or tamari
- ½ packet – Sazon Goya Seasoning – Con Culantro Y Achiote https://amzn.to/3nTPUzG
- 1/2 packet – Annatto/Achiote Powder, see notes https://amzn.to/3bV9OI4
- Thai Chili peppers or Donne’ Dinanche
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1–2 cups – additional hot water, if needed
- 2 cups – masa harina
- 1/2 cup – cornstarch
- 1 packet – Sazon Goya Seasoning – Con Culantro Y Achiote https://amzn.to/3nTPUzG
- 1 teaspoon – salt
- 1 packet – annatto/achiote powder, see notes https://amzn.to/3bV9OI4
- 1 cup – vegetable broth
- Oil to deep fry
- Mixing bowls
- Fine-mesh sieve
- Large saute pan
- High-speed blender or food processor
- Large soup pot
- Tortilla press / 2 flat bottom plates + rolling pin, see notes
- Parchment paper
- Tongs or spider strainer
- Wire cooling rack
Making the chalakiles filling:
- First heat 1 cup of broth over a stove-top or microwave. Then, in a bowl, rehydrate the soy curls in the hot broth. Set aside until they are properly rehydrated, about 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toast the rice. Dry toast the rice in a large pan until lightly brown. Stirring constantly so the rice doesn’t burn. Optionally, you can also dry toast the rice in a 350° degree oven for about 15 minutes. Stirring every 5 minutes or so, until they’re brown and beginning to smell fragrant. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool.
- When the rice has cooled, grind it in a high-speed blender or food processor until you get a cornmeal consistency. I like to have some chunky pieces for more texture! Set aside until ready to use.
- Once the soy curls are rehydrated, drain it through a fine-mesh sieve, and reserve the excess broth. We will use it later.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the soy curls to the pot and season it with poultry seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Saute until the soy curls are browned all over.
- To the pot, add in the onions and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent.
- Add the rest of the broth to the pot, along with the annatto/achiote powder and sazon goya seasoning. Use a whisk to mix until well combined. Allow it to come to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer.
- Add in the toasted rice powder a little bit a time, while continuously stirring. See notes
- After all the rice is mixed in, add in the chili peppers or donne’ dinanche. Add as much as you like! I like mine spicy, so I added a lot.
- Make sure there is enough liquid for the rice to boil, add more hot water if you think it is too thick. Cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- After 10 minutes, add salt and pepper. Taste and add more seasoning if needed. If the rice is still gritty, add more water and continue to cook until the rice is cooked thoroughly. You are looking for a thick consistency.
- Transfer the filling to a large bowl, and allow it to come to room temp. Cover the bowl and bring it to the fridge to cool overnight.
Making the empanåda shells:
- Into a large bowl, combine the masa harina, sazon goya seasoning, achote powder, and salt.
- Mix in 1 cup of water, once it starts looking like dough, lightly knead it. Until it is a cohesive dough, there should be no dry flour left. If it’s too dry, add in a little broth. If it’s too wet, add in a little more masa harina.
- Roll the dough into 1 inch balls (or 2oz/56g balls to be exact). You should get about 10-11 dough balls.
- Using a tortilla press, press the dough in between two pieces of parchment paper. Repeat for the rest of the dough balls. See notes on how to flatten the dough without a tortilla press.
- Gently remove the top parchment paper and add in about a tablespoon of the chalakiles filling onto the center of the flattened dough. Try not to overfill it.
- Use the parchment paper to bring the bottom half of the dough to meet the top half. Press to seal the edges. Do not remove the parchment paper yet! Continue filling the rest of the dough.
- Place the empanådas, with the parchment paper still on them, on a cooking sheet in a single layer. Freeze for 1-2 hours. If you’re not looking to cook these right away, you can transfer the frozen empanådas into a zipped bag.
- When you are ready to cook, fill a deep pot with vegetable oil, enough for the empanåda to be submerged, and place it over medium-low heat or 325° Fahrenheit. Cook the empanådas in batches of 2 or 3’s, don’t overcrowd and try not to touch them during this stage. You can risk the shell opening and the filling spilling out. Cook them for about 10 minutes and until nice and crispy.
- Remove the empanådas from the oil, allow them to rest and drain out the excess oil over a wire cooling rack. Continue until all the empanådas are cooked. Serve warm and enjoy!
- If you don’t want to use soy curls to fill up the empanådas, you can also add some potatoes, chickpeas, or even tofu!
- You can use any rice you prefer, I’ve seen some use brown rice as well.
- For ease, most people like to use cream of rice. Use the same amount that’s listed in the recipe. You can also skip steps 2 – 3.
- If you can’t find annatto powder, you can use annatto seeds. You will need to soak the seeds in the broth, that’s listed in the recipe, overnight. If you need it sooner, use a spoon to agitate the seeds to remove the red color off of them. Add the broth to the filling and the empanada shells.
- If you can’t find the Mama Sita brand of annatto powder, the equivalent amount per pack is about 2 1/2 teaspoons.
- If you don’t add the rice in batches, you’ll risk it not cooking properly.
- If you don’t have a tortilla press, you can use two flat-bottom plates and a rolling pin. Place the ball of dough in between two pieces of parchment paper. Use the plates to press it down flat. It will be thick, but use the rolling pin to roll to about 8-inch in diameter.
- As I mentioned in the directions, if you are not ready to cook all the empanadas, you can keep them in the freezer. Freeze them in a single layer, preferrable on a baking sheet. Once they are frozen solid, transfer them to a freezer-safe zipped bag, and they’ll keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
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