Fish Empanada

Fish empanada
Fish Empanada

Empanada or patties as we call them at home, are a party food that I grew up with. It is one of the few things that I started making myself as a little girl, just by following my Mom’s directions. However, I have, over-time, done a few changes to the original recipe just to make it a bit more healthier.


The dough is no different to the original recipe. I have added green peas and chick peas to the fish mixture and also some garam-masala. you can opt that with curry-powder. Usually these patties are deep fried, but I like to bake them instead.

I use canned salmon, caned tuna when I’m in a hurry. But fresh fish is the best if you can be organized. If you are using fresh fish, you will have to steam the fish and remove bones. Any meaty fish works and if you are not a fish person, well, then chicken would be fine too. Make sure to cook chicken beforehand, util tender. having said all this, I personally prefer the version with canned Mackerel as it brings back the memories from childhood.

Patties are served as a finger food in parties but I like to make these for dinner too. You can make a big batch and freeze them for later. You can thaw them for a few minutes and bake straight away.

fish empanada

It is important to egg wash these patties before baking to achieve that nice golden color.


Mix the dough in a mixer/processor until everything comes together. Then take it out on to a floured surface.


Knead the dough by hand to form a nice smooth ball. Do not try to achieve this in the machine, it it too stiff and rubbery. Place this in a closed container and refrigerate for about an hour (or more) The gluten need to relax


Once ready, divide the dough into golf ball size potions and set aside for 10 minutes to relax. Cover the dough at all times to prevent a skin forming.


Take a dough ball, flatten it on a lightly dusted surface. Use your fingers and press outwards, lightly. If it springs back, the dough need to rest 5-10 minutes more.


Place a spoonful of the mixture in the center, keeping edges clean. Apply some water around the rim and fold in to two to make a pastie shape.


Press the edges firmly, and then use a fork to crimp and seal tightly


Place the empanadas on a lined baking tray, egg wash and bake.

200 C for about 20 – 30 minutes or until golden brown all around. Rotate trays closer to the end for a even baking.


Once baked, remove from the oven and serve warm with a dipping sauce.

You can deep fry these to get a crispier outer shell. Be sure to drain excess oil if you do so. The amount of spices mentioned in the recipe are just a guide. I always adjust flavor after tasting and never measure spices when making fillings like these. Also, be creative and add your favorite veggies to the mixture and see how it goes.

Lets get to work!

Fish empanada


fish empahada


    For the dough
  • 550 g all purpose flour
  • 80 g buttert
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 2 eggs
    For the filling
  • 1 can of salmon
  • 3 medium potatoes steamed
  • 1/2 cup of chick peas
  • 1/3 cups green peas
  • 1 Medium onion chopped
  • Few garlic cloves finely chopped
  • Few green chilies finely chopped (remove seeds if you can’t handle the heat)
  • A handful of curry leaves finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil/coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 egg to egg wash


    To make the dough
  1. Mix flour salt and butter until combined.
  2. Add the 2 eggs and start to bring the dough together.
  3. Add water a little at a time until the bowl is clean and dough comes together.
  4. You can use a food processor instead, up to this point.
  5. Dough should not be sticky. At this point take the dough on to a floured surface.
  6. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until its smooth.
  7. Place in a bowl cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for the gluten to relax. This will ensure that you can stretch the dough easily. Otherwise the dough is very elastic and would curl back when you try to roll out.
    For the Filling
  1. Cube the potato or roughly mash using a fork and set aside.
  2. Break the salmon or the fish in to small chunks and set aside.
  3. Place a deep saucepan over medium heat, and add oil and butter.
  4. When oil is hot enough, add the onions, garlic, chilies and curry leaves and let them sweat for a minute. Let the aromatics release.
  5. Add the potatoes and salmon in to the saucepan and give a good mix.
  6. To this add all the spices followed by the chick peas and green peas.
  7. Add salt to taste.
  8. Let the mixture cook on low heat for about 5 minutes stirring to stop bottom from catching.
  9. If mixture is too dry add a table spoon of water. If mixture is wet, for some reason, add some bread crumbs. The mixture should be pliable.
  10. Taste test and adjust spices.
  11. Remove from heat and let it cool completely.
    To assemble.
  1. Preheat oven to 200 C and line a flat baking tray or a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Take the dough out and divide into small dough balls, about the size of small ping pong balls and let these rest for about 10 minutes.
  3. This dough makes about 20 large patties.
  4. Flatten a small dough ball to a circle of about 3 inch diameter (as big as you can go without tearing) and place a spoonful of mixture in the center and fold to seal edges. (use a tiny bit of water as glue)
  5. Use a fork to seal the edges or crimp the edge.
  6. Once all patties are done, you can bake them in batches or freeze them.
  7. To freeze, place patties in air tight containers separated with plastic sheets to stop them sticking and freeze.
  8. Else place the patties on the prepared tray leaving some space around them.
  9. Beat one egg lightly and egg wash the patties before baking. Usually takes about 20 minutes or check for golden brown color.
  10. Let cool on wire rack and serve with tomato sauce.

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