Food of the Philippines: Beef Empanada, an Ilocano classic

If you want the empanadas – head up to the northern part of Luzon. Delicious!

Empanadas are delicious filled pasty turnovers. They originated in Spain, but have now become a firm Filipino favourite, particularly in the north of the country. Empanadas can be baked or fried. They can be great appetisers or a perfect party finger food.

In this recipe we will use lean ground beef, but many like shredded beef – but more time is needed to prepare. Like chicken empanada, the beef is cooked with potatoes, peppers, green peas and, of course, raisins.


 Ingredients for the Filling:

  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • ½ kilo of lean ground beef
  • ½ cup of onion – diced
  • 1 cup of carrots – diced
  • 2 cups of potatoes – diced
  • ½ cup of green peas
  • ½ cup of raisins
  • ¼ cup of soy sauce
  • ¼ cup of white wine
  • 3 tbsp of cane vinegar
  • 1 chorizo bilbao – diced
  • 2 egg whites – whipped (this is for sealing the empanada pockets)
  • 2 egg yolks (slightly whipped to brush on the exterior of the pockets)
  • Salt – to add to taste to the content

Dough – Crust Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp of powder
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 4 tbsp of sugar
  • ½ cup of butter (cold & cubed)
  • ½ cup of shortening
  • 6 tbsp of cold

To make the filling:

  • In a large pan over medium heat – pour oil in pan and heat.
  • Sauté unions and carrots until soft (approx. 5 minutes)
  • Turn up heat to medium and cook ground beef along with the chorizo bilbao until browned
  • Add potatoes to pan along with soy sauce, white wine, vinegar and raisins
  • Reduce heat and cover pan, cook until content is soft (approximately 30 minutes)
  • Add green peas and heat to cook through
  • Add salt to taste

To make the Crust:

  • With a large bowl sift flour, salt, sugar, powder together in bowl
  • After mixing content – add in cubed butter and vegetable shortening
  • Using a fork – stir till it forms a crumb
  • Add cold water -1 tbsp at a time, all the while mixing well
  • Knead dough for approximately 3 minutes and form into a ball
  • Let stand for 15 minutes
  • Roll out dough on surface and cut into desired size
  • Fill the center by placing filling to interior of dough and fold to opposite ends.
  • Crimp dough with fork or fingers and seal edge with egg
  • Place on tray and brush egg white
  • Preheat oven to 375F – bake approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown
  • Once cooled, serve slightly warm
  • Perfecto!