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Curried Vegetable Empanadas

A couple of weeks ago, we started serving a 4 day marathon of meals at a local hotel. The first evening's buffet reception boasted an array of foods representing our diverse Northwest cuisine. From my urban perch, I can see Thai, Chinese, Italian, Mexican, Japanese and Indian food eateries. It's not just about salmon, anymore.

Given the intense schedule of meals, what could be made in advance and frozen was done between our numerous holidays. Pulling my production list, I see "Curried Vegetable Empanadas".....huh? Logistics don't allow for deep frying so I must have opted for baking empanadas over samosas. I have a fabulous empanada dough recipe (look for it in the archives - will post next) and I guess I still wanted to include the Indian influence. That said, I form empanadas as I do the Sephardic borekas, with the beautiful crimped edge. Fusion on steroids!

My next issue is that I don't have a curried vegetable filling recipe. We made a wonderful curried vegetable side dish earlier in the summer and I'd like to capture those flavors. However, the recipe doesn't really translate as a filling. Looking online, I find nothing. I'm on my own.

Stopping into the market, I grab a cauliflower and a bag of frozen peas and carrots. I don't know if I've ever purchased frozen peas and carrots in my life. Back at the kitchen, I don't see any canned coconut milk. It's Sunday and I'm not going to find any at my general supermarket. Spying my bag of leftover Passover dessicated coconut, I pour boiling water over it and strain. Voila! Coconut milk.

Taking my giant Russet potato, I cut mini-cubes that complement the peas and carrots. Simmering the diced potato in coconut milk, I sprinkle in a little saffron. The color is subtle, the aroma fragrant. I slowly incorporate all the other ingredients, guessing at amounts. I know what I want, not sure I'm on the correct path.

Benoit stops into the kitchen and sees my giant bowl of filling. After all, I'm making 150 empanadas. I give him a spoonful. He likes it; no suggestions. It's good stuff!

Kosher Status: Parve
Number of servings: makes about 24 empanadas
Main Ingredient(s): Potatoes - Russet
Preparation Time: 00:40
Cooking Time: 00:30
Skill Level: 2 (1 Easy - 5 Hard)
Estimated POINT value:


1 recipe empanada dough (see archives under pies and tarts, appetizers)


  • 1 pound of Russet potatoes (1 - 2 medium, 1 giant)
  • 8 oz. frozen peas and carrots
  • 3/4 pound cauliflower
  • 1 cup diced onions (about 1 medium onion)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • pinch of saffron
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup potato flakes (for thickening)


Make empanada dough and set aside in the refrigerator to chill.

To a medium sauce pan, add the diced potatoes and coconut milk. Simmer until just tender. Add the saffron.

While the potatoes cook, saute the diced onions until tender. Add to the simmering potatoes. Add the finely chopped cauliflower and cook until tender. Were trying to cook all the vegetables evenly. Add the peas and carrots.

When the vegetables are tender, add the seasonings. Adjust the salt as necessary. Cook over a low heat for a minute. Remove from the heat and transfer to a medium bowl.

Add just enough of the potato flakes to bring the mixture together. Let cool.

Form the empanadas by taking a walnut sized ball of dough and flattening into a oval shape. Add a tablespoon of filling, fold dough over and crimp. See my instructions on the Sephardic Boreka recipe and video.

Place empanada on a sheet pan, either sprayed or with parchment paper. Brush lightly with egg mixture and poke with a fork.

Bake at 350' until light golden brown. Let cool slightly before serving as the filling will be very hot.

Rate this Recipe:


Souzan: I like the idea of adding the Potatoe flakes to thicken and bring the filling together. Good work!
Leah: Thanks! Yes, great way to quickly absorb liquid and it adds a creamy texture.
Beruryah: In my country the cook made Pasteis (sing. Pastel) de Massa Tenra. Similar dough with filling of leftover meat that he would grind with onions and little buljong bechamel (no milk) sauce to bind. I make them also with leftover fish and at times with canned skin/boneless sardines (very Portuguese). Sometimes even leftover bacalhau mixed with a bechamel.
Beruryah: Leah, this dough is measured with the little scoop you use for icecream? Can I triple the dough if I want to make lots? We eat them with tea or with soup or just with a letuce salad. We also fill them with all types of calabaça (pumpkin).
Leah: Hi Beruryah - Love the ideas for fillings; sounds like just about anything can get put into the dough. I use the little portion scoops for just about everything as I like the uniformity of the final product on my buffet. I usually use a slightly larger scoop for the filling so that the empanada or boreka isn't doughy. Thanks for using the website!

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