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A Taste of Yellow

>> Wednesday, May 02, 2007

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Barbara of Winos and Foodies is hosting a lovely event called A Taste of Yellow. If you visit Barbara’s blog, you will know that she is not only an incredible cook and baker but also a brave woman who has been fighting against cancer. This event is a chance for Barbara to spread the awareness for cancer and honour a brave fighter – Lance Armstrong.

I first encountered cancer as a child when a close friend lost his mom due to this disease. It was so sudden, we were all shocked. Years later, my grandfather was diagnosed. Luckily with a lot of blessing, supports and his own efforts, my grandfather is getting better. And now, a friend of our family is also fighting against cancer.

We all, then, should be aware of this disease and support those who are fighting against it. And this event is a great way to spread the awareness by cooking or baking with something yellow. The possibilities are endless but I have settled down with polenta.

I have used polenta to make incredible pastry dough for empanadillas. The recipe comes from Momo, a famous restaurant located in London. Combining polenta with bread flour, the result is the dough that is half pastry and half bread dough. It has a very interesting texture, almost “sandy” when I first chew it. But the more I eat it, the more I like it.

Now, this recipe is definitely a keeper. The filling is very delicious. I have done several variations (e.g. making vegetarian filling) but always kept the spices portion. It is worth a try although you may find that the dough is stiffer than usual due to the polenta. Extra efforts may be necessary to roll the dough to the desired thickness. Good way to work out your hand muscles!

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Based on recipe from Momo Restaurant, as appeared in Delicious Magazine March 2007 Australian Edition


3 tbsp olive oil

500g mince pork/chicken or cubed potatoes for vegetarian filling

2 large onion, finely chopped

2 red capsicum, finely chopped

4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

½ cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 tsp fennel seeds, ground

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp hot smoked paprika

2 tsp sweet paprika

1 tbp chopped pickle hot chili pepper (optional)

1 tomato, seeded and finely chopped (optional)


400g unbleached strong white flour

100g coarse or instant polenta, plus extra for dusting

1/3 cup olive oil

50g unsalted butter, melted

75ml dry white wine

½ tsp castor sugar


For the dough, blend all ingredients with ½ tsp sea salt in a processor until the mixture comes together. Transfer to a board; knead with 3 tablespoons of warm water. Add little more if needed – I don’t need any. You need to be patient since the dough will come together slowly. Cover and rest for 1 hour.

For the filling, heat half of the oil in a large saucepan. Add the meat and brown quickly. Remove and set aside. Add oil to the same pan, add capsicum and onion. Cook for 5-6 mins to soften and start to caramelize. Add garlic, parsley and fennel (and potatoes + tomatoes, if using). Cook for further 10 mins. Return meat to the pan with tomato paste and paprika. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide the dough into 28-30 walnut-sized pieces (or larger if you prefer). Dust the workspace with polenta and roll out each ball until thin and fairly round in shape. Add the filling (1 tsp for each), fold the dough in half and push the edged with a fork to seal. Trim off the excess. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Preheat the oven to 220C. Sprinkle baking tray with polenta. Place the empanadillas on. Glaze with beaten egg. Bake for 10-15 mins or until golden brown.

Serve hot or warm.

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Patricia Scarpin 2:27 AM  

Anh, delicious! I love these types of empanadas, they're similar to some we have here. And we can go crazy with the fillings, the sky is the limit.

I love it that you used polenta to make the dough.

Not to mention that we can wave goodbye without any concern after kneading and rolling this dough. :)

Gattina 2:55 AM  

wish your grandpa and everyone good health!
I only start to know about empanadas since blogging. Love yours so plump so rustic!

joey 3:17 AM  

That looks incredibly good! I am so attracted to all sorts of savory fillings in crusts -- empanadas, samosas, tarts, you name it :) Your pastry sounds interesting!

Asha 4:07 AM  

It is a good cause and what Barbara is doing is a great thing:))

I love Empanadas.So crisp and yummy.Great entry Anh.

We make sweet like this in India on festival days called "karjikai" filled coconut and cardamom!

Lydia 6:38 AM  

I love love love empanadillas -- I often make them for parties, with a spicy cheese filling. Yours look absolutely yummy!

Barbara 7:30 AM  

Anh thank you for your kind words and this great entry. Reading all the entries I've discovered so many new foods to try.

Precious Moments 1:00 PM  

Anh, is unbleached strong white flour same as bread flour?

Ellie 1:15 PM  

Beautiful! I love empanadas, they're such a great little treat to have in the freezer, popping straight in the oven when you need a tasty snack!

Anh 3:10 PM  

Pat, thanks for the sweet words. :) I made this just to see how polenta changes the texture of the dough. It works a treat!

Gattina, thanks dear. I am not very good at dough handling. Need more practice.

Joey, I too love to try different savory filling and dough. :D

Asha, *hug*. I'd love to try karjikai one day. :)

Lydia, spicy cheese filling? I'd love to have some of that.

Barbara, thanks so much for a great event. You are always an inspiration.

Edith, yes they are the same thing. You can use the normal white bread flour for this.

Ellie, I have never tried to freeze them. Perhaps I should start saving some for a rainy day (like today)! :D

Brooke 9:48 PM  

yum! I saw this recipe in Delicious too and was contemplating making may have pushed me over the edge, these look so good!!!

Angie 12:39 AM  

These looks so so good!

Sandeepa 2:16 AM  

Like Asha said we too make a sweet which we call "parakia" which looks like this. Only instead of baking its fried

Yours looks so good.My Father-in-law is fighting the disease too but by god's grace he is doing good now

tigerfish 4:35 AM  

This looks like the curry puff we enjoy in Singapore and Malaysia. Yummy!

Sharmi 10:46 AM  

hmm yummy looking! we make a sweet which looks like this. you gave me an idea to make a new innovative recipe which will be soon in my blog.:)
lovely pics as usual!

Anonymous,  11:00 AM  

Hi, i will be visiting melbourne next week. would be interested to know of any nice bakeries ( U mentioned Crown in your earlier blog), cafes and baking shops to browse. would be glad if u can drop me a note at Thanks

sher 3:59 PM  

Ahhh--these are simply perfect! I've had many empanadas, but these are some of the best looking I've ever seen. Now, if only I could eat one........

Anh 9:32 PM  

Brooke, do try this recipe. It is great!

Angie, thanks pal :)

Sandeepa, thanks for your sweet words. I hope your father-on-law is in good health always.

Tigerfish, I guess each region has its own version of savoury pastr/puff. All are delicious!

Sharmi, I am waiting patiently for your post :)

Anonymous, I don't have a complete list... But there are good Asian-type bakeries in Chinatown, European type in Lygon St (Carlton) or Acland St (St Kilda). Do check out Europa Bakery in Acland St, they have lovely Polish sweets/donuts. I have two personal fav. Glicks (in Carlise Street), a Jewish bakery, has beautiful bagel and breads. And A1 (in Sydney Road, Brunswisk) has the most amazing Lebanese pizza! Please google these names, you will have the reviews and addresses! :)

Sher, thanks for your lovely compliments. This is my first try on empanadas and I love love them!

Rasa Malaysia 10:11 AM  

Hey Anh, your first picture is a broken image...FYI.

Amy 3:08 PM  

Your empanadas look wonderful! The filling sounds really delicious and the polenta dough is new to me. Best wishes for your grandpa and family friend in their fights against cancer.

SteamyKitchen 11:17 PM  

I've never heard of using polenta! It sounds so good.

I am cooking for a family friend whose 4yr old daughter has incurable brain cancer...but she is definitely a fighter and while the disease is difficult to watch progressing on a little girl, it shows me how brave and strong little kids can be.

Sushma 10:12 AM  

I wish your grandfather a good health.

I am glad to learn about the great event for a worthy cause from your blog. Empanadas are new to me , I hope to give this lovely recipe a try soon


holybasil 1:58 AM  

Hi Anh,
Thanks for sharing this recipe. I've been looking for an interesting recipe for empanadillas now for a while. I will definitely try yours.

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