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Empanadas de Verde

Serves ~4 Prep 5 min Cook 45 min Ready 50 min

Bananas and plantains are very popular in Ecuadorian cuisine; they're eaten both when they're green (savory) and when they're ripe (sweet).

Ecuador is the world's biggest exporter of bananas - they're grown primarily in 3 provinces: El Oro (where Zaruma is located), Guayas and Los Rios. The humid & overall tropical climate, along with the rich soils of the lowlands, is the perfect environment for banana plants to flourish.

This recipe was an experiment in which I combined part of the tigrillo recipe as the empanada masa, along with the filling of the chicken tamales recipe. It came out amazing and received 10/10 reviews in my household!

The more traditional way is to fill the empanadas with cheese. My family uses Monterey Jack cheese, but you can use also use mozzarella.



  • 3 large green plantains (each plantain makes about 2 empanadas)

  • 3 generous tablespoons of salted butter (you can add a bit more if needed)

  • 3 teaspoons of salt

Chicken filling:

  • 1 white onion

  • 1 tomato

  • 1 bell pepper

  • 3 garlic cloves

  • 3 chicken thighs

  • 3 tablespoons of achiote oil

  • Abuelita's aliño

  • olive oil

  • salt & pepper

Cheese filling

  • ~1 cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese


Chicken filling Prep:

  1. Prep the chicken thighs by trimming off the excess fat + season with Abuelita's aliño.

  2. Boil in salted water with1/2 an onion and garlic for about 15-20 mins or until the internal temperature reaches 165F.

  3. Shred and set aside.

  4. Finely chop the remaining half of the onion, tomato, bell pepper & two garlic cloves.

  5. In a large pan, make the refrito with a tablespoon of olive oil.

  6. Once the refrito is throughly cooked, add 1/2 cup of water or chicken stock, 3 tablespoons of achiote oil, abuelita's aliño, salt and pepper to taste. Mix throughly.

  7. Add in the shredded chicken and cook for 3-5 mins or until the liquid is reduced and has thicken. Let cool.

Plantain Masa Prep:

1. First, prepare the plantains. Cut off both ends from each plantain and cut it in half. Then, cut about 3-4 slits with a pairing knife along the sides of the plantains.

2. In a pot add enough water to cover the plantains, along with 2 large pinches of salt. Boil the plantains until fork tender - about 20 mins. Remove the plantains from the pot and let cool enough to be able to remove the peels.

3. In a food processor, add the plantains, along with salt to taste (I add about one teaspoon per plantain, but you can add more if needed) and ~2 tablespoons of butter (depending on the sizes of the plantains). Blend until smooth and the mixture starts forming into a ball.

4. Remove the mixture from the processor and shape into small round balls; approx. a handful of masa per ball.

Empanada Prep:

1. In a dumpling maker or by hand, flatten the masa until it is a thin round disc.

TIP: I use parchment paper so it doesn't stick.

2. Add 1-2 tablespoons of filling (either the chicken filling or the shredded cheese) & close tightly using the dumpling maker or by hand with your thumb. Make sure its completely sealed with no filling sticking out.

Note: Do not overfill! It will make it very hard to seal and will fall apart while frying.

3. Fry the empanada in salted butter on medium heat for a few mins on each side - until browned.

Chicken filled empanada:

Cheese filled empanada:


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