Fried Bean Empanadas with Coriander Dipping Sauce

You can find empanadas sold on street corners across all of South America. They’re very adaptable — switch up the filling, or use a regular pastry to cover them. This gluten-free version uses corn meal and crisps up beautifully.

Preparation time Prep: 15 mins
cook 30 mins
Skill level Totally Doable

You will need:

  • 40ml vegetable oil + 500ml for frying
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 1 x (400g) can pinto beans
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Pinch salt & pepper
  • 300g white cornmeal
  • 450ml water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Coriander Dipping Sauce
  • 1 bunch coriander
  • 1 bunch mint, leaves
  • 2 limes, juice only
  • 1 long green chilli, remove the seeds and vein for a milder spice
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • ½ cup water
Recipe: Simon Toohey


  • 1In a pan add 40ml of vegetable oil on medium heat, add diced garlic, diced leeks, diced red capsicum, and a pinch of salt until the leek is translucent and the peppers have leached out their red colouring, for about 10 minutes stirring slowly.
  • 2Add the whole cumin and smoked paprika and cook for another 30 seconds.
  • 3Add the tin of pinto beans, cooking for 5 more minutes on medium heat. With a masher, mash the ingredients roughly. You don’t want the consistency of mashed potatoes as a little texture is always nice. Set aside to cool.
  • 4Mix the cornmeal, water and salt in a bowl. Very lightly spray oil on 1 sheet of baking paper or rub the oil on the paper with your fingers.
  • 5Take a golf ball-sized piece of dough and roll it to 1.5mm thick on the baking paper, as close to a circle as possible. Then with a dessert spoon lay the filling in the middle of the dough.
  • 6Pick up the baking paper and gently fold the dough in half so that the filling is being covered in the middle. Using the side of a mug you drink from, place it over the filling but only about halfway as you want to create a half-moon shape. Once pressed, take the newly formed empanada and place on a baking tray for frying. Keep going until all the filling or dough mixture is used up.
  • 7Add 500ml of vegetable oil to a pan and bring to 170–180 degrees. Fry for approximately 7 minutes or until super crisp and golden on the outside.
  • 8To make the sauce, add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until a wet sauce has formed. Serve.
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