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Empanadas Vallunas (From El Valle del Cauca)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 3.9 from 122 reviews
  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours
  • Total Time: 0 hours
  • Yield: 25-30 empanadas 1x
  • Category: Appetizers, Beef, Breakfast, Christmas, Empanadas
  • Cuisine: Colombian


  • 1 lb beef chuck
  • 3 green onions, stalks only
  • ¼ white onion
  • 2 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 beef bouillon (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Water (enough to cook beef)
  • 1 lb papa criolla (creole potatoes)
  • 23 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped (stalks only)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 seedless medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp food coloring (Triguisar, Sazón Goya, Bijol or homemade)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup ((240 ml) water
  • 4½ cups hot (1,06 liter) water
  • 1½ tsp food coloring (Triguisar, Sazón Goya, Bijol or homemade)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 cups (600 g) pre-cooked cornmeal (for making arepas)
  • Oil for frying (vegetable, corn, canola, peanut)


  1. In a pressure cooker, add the beef, green onion, white onion, garlic, beef bouillon, enough water to cover the beef and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and bring to a boil or pressure on high heat. Then, reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 1½ hour if using a pressure cooker, or 3 hours if using a regular pot.
  2. Once the meat is ready, release the pressure and uncover carefully. Take out the beef, let it cool completely and then shred it with your hands or a couple of forks. Reserve the stock and set the beef aside.
  3. Place the potatoes in a medium pot and cover with the reserved stock. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil on high heat. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat to medium low and cook until tender. If using frozen papa criolla it will take no more than 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes and mash them with a potato masher or a fork and set them aside.
  4. To make the masa (dough), pour hot water into a large bowl. Add the food coloring, vegetable oil and salt. Stir well and then slowly add the pre-cooked cornmeal. Knead with your hands until it’s soft and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large pan on medium heat. Add the green onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 7-8 minutes or until they’re softened. Season with cumin and food coloring. Add 1 cup of water and then season with salt and pepper to taste. Now add the shredded beef and the mashed potatoes and stir well to cover them with the tomato sauce. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if needed.
  6. Pre-heat oil at 350ºF (180ºC).
  7. To assemble the empanadas, cover a tortilla press with plastic, place a small ball in the center and press. You can also flatten the dough ball with a plate or the bottom of a small pot. Place about 1 tbsp of filling in the center of the dough, then with the help of the plastic fold the dough in half to form a half moon. Press the edge of the dough with your fingers and then make a clean cut around the border with a small bowl or large cup. Continue this process until you are done assembling the empanadas.
  8. Deep fry the empanadas at 350ºF (180ºC) for about 5-7 minutes or until they are golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately with Colombian hot sauce or Colombian green hot sauce and lime wedges.


To avoid getting cracks in your empanadas, deep fry them as soon as you assemble them so the dough doesn’t dry out. Also, to make them really crunchy the dough needs to be flattened really thin and they will have to be deep fried for much longer, while trying not to get them burnt.