We based this off of a VegNews recipe that I ripped out of a newspaper I found in Portland, OR on my bike trip in April. [Here’s the story online.] We made the dough as the recipe instructed but we made our own filling. This recipe takes about an hour but you can make many at a time and refrigerate or freeze them.
2 cups unbleached white flour (plus some for rolling)
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup cold water
1 1/2 tbsp margarine at room temperature (we like Earth Balance)
Mix 2 cups flour, salt, and cold water in a bowl until a firm dough forms. Roll the dough up into a ball, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate it for 20 minutes.
Prepare a cutting board (or your counter) by dusting it with flour; dust a rolling pin (or a long bottle) with flour. Lay the dough out and roll it until it’s less than a cm thick. Slather it with margarine; tuck the edges in to the center to cover up the margarined bits and re-roll out. Slather again; fold; roll again. Repeat this 2 – 3 times to incorporate the margarine. Roll the dough up again, wrap it in plastic (use the same plastic! Save the planet!), and refrigerate it for 20 minutes.
Now, prepare your filling.
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 mushrooms (white button or crimini), diced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions; sauté one minute. Add garlic. Add mushrooms. Sauté until soft. Add:
1 tsp cumin
Toss the spices around with the onion, garlic, and mushrooms for a minute before adding:
1/2 cup tempeh, crumbled
2 tbsp Braggs or soy sauce (use less soy sauce than you would Braggs – 1 tbsp should do)
Toss to coat. Sauté until tempeh has browned. Then, add:
1 – 2 tomatillos, diced
1/4 tomato (roma or vine size, not beefsteak), diced
Mix well and turn your heat down. Now your filling is ready. Alternately, instead of tempeh, use crumbled (or previously-frozen and crumbled) tofu, ground TVP, or some other meatlike product. If you want to get creative you can mix your spices up. If you don’t have access to tomatillos, try using just tomato. To add some spice try adding chopped green chilies or chopped jalapenos. Or, you can use the VegNews filling recipe.
Pull the dough out of the fridge and roll it out on a floured surface until it’s very thin – really, as thin as you can make it. Cut circles out using a pint glass or a large circle cookie cutter. If you hate circles you could try squares, or even star shapes. This is like making ravioli.
Put a teaspoonful or two of filling on each piece of dough and fold it over. Press it closed with your fingers and then crimp the edges with a fork.
Frying your Tempeh-Nadas
Either use a deep fryer, or, if you’re like us, use a small skillet. Add enough oil that the bottom of the skillet is coated and turn it up to medium-high. When the oil is hot (you can test it by throwing something in and seeing if bubbles immediately rise around it and it begins to cook – try a leftover chunk of dough or tempeh) you are ready to cook.
Prepare a plate or cookie tray beside the stove with layers of cheesecloth or paper towel or a teatowel you don’t mind washing in very hot water afterward. Cook your empanadas in small batches, on each side until they are golden-brown. Let the oil drain off afterward. Let the oil in the pan heat up sufficiently between batches, or you will have very oily empanadas and a pimply mouth which is always very uncomfortable in social situations.
Eat with green chile sauce, hot sauce, or without any dipping sauce at all.
(This post was written by Malloreigh but the recipe is Kaylie’s. She dictated it to me while she worked.)