It is July 2007 and Argentina has the coldest winter since 90 years. On the other end of the world, in Germany, and at 40°C I step into the plane for my very first trip to South America. At that point, I was clueless on what to expect from a trip to a country which language I didn’t speak and people warned me to go due to safety issues. 7 months later I had not only found myself but also my love for food. It was only the beginning of my culinary journey and much has evolved since but I will forever be grateful to Argentina and its food.
My love affair with food started with Argentinian empanadas. It was love at first bite. If you ever tried empanadas in Argentina I guess you know what I’m talking about. It literally translates into “wrapped in bread” but this is a sheer understatement and does no justice to the diverse flavours and textures of empanadas. This savoury stable of Argentinian cuisine is served warm either as an appetizer or by its own.
This recipe is a recreation of what I remember empanadas are like, just without the meet and/or cheese but they are vegan pumpkin empanadas with peas and corn.
Vegan Pumpkin Empanadas From Argentina
1 cup buckwheat
1/2 cup gluten-free flour (baking mix) or rice flour
100 gram of cold vegan butter
1/2 cup ice cold water
1/2 tsp salt
* You can also usea pre-made vegan pie crust from the super market
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/2 cup fresh or canned corn
1/2 medium onion
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp curry powder
Salt & peper
1/2 cup fresh or frozen parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp oregano leaves
Red pepper flakes (optional and as much as you like)
Salt & pepper
1. Put the bowl and butter in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
2. Take out the bowl and butter from the fridge. Combine buckwheat flour, gluten-free flour and salt in the bowl. Work in the butter using a fork.
3. Add in cold water but one tablespoon at a time. You don’t want to add too much liquid as it will be difficult to work with the dough.
4. Form the dough into a ball, cover and put it back in the fridge for at least another hour.
5. While the dough is in the fridge, you can prepare the filling and dip.
6. In a pan, heat some coconut or olive oil. Add the onions and garlic for about 3-5 min. Adjust the heat so you don’t burn the onions and garlic.
7. Add the peas and corn and cook until soft. Afterwards, add the pumpkin puree and spices and mix well. Set aside.
8. Finely chop the parsley and oregano or blend in a food processor. Stir in olive oil and red pepper flakes (optional). Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
9. Preheat your oven to 200°C/400 F.
10. On a floured surface, roll out the dough until its pretty thin. The ticker it is, the harder the crust but the thinner the dough, the more likely it will break.
11. Use a cookie cutter or wide-mouth glass and cut out circles.
12. Place 1-2 tsps of filling in the center, fold the circle and press edges together using a small fork.
13. Place empanadas on large baking sheet.
14. Bake empanadas for 20 min or until brown around the edges.
You can also freeze baked as well as unbaked empanadas or keep them in the fridge for several days.