Margarita's International Recipes


Beef and Coconut Empanadas

Printable Recipe

As every good Argentinian, I love empanadas. I grew up eating them – they are our national dish – and still cook them every so often for my family (who goes wild over them). I have by now developed my own recipe, but when I found this Chamorro version I just had to try it. For one, the ingredients – ginger, coconut milk, soy sauce – were very itnriguing. For another, finding empanadas in the cuisine of a tiny island country, half-way across the world, is really exciting. It shouldn't have been too surprisng, though. For century, Spanish galleons stopped in Guam on their way from the Philippines, bringing Spanish influence to Chamorro cuisine.

While I love my personal recipe for empanadas, I have to admit this recipe was very tasty – and definitely unusual. I will definitely cook it again.

I followed the original recipe pretty closely. I ommitted the red bell pepper, because the ones at the supermarket didn't look very fresh, but I would add it next time. I also used Argentine empanada shells. I use the La Salteña brand which is sold in may Latin markets. Make sure to get the shells that are for oven-baked empanadas (para horno) and get the hojaldrosa kind, if you can. If you can't find the shells, you can use this recipe to make them or simply buy puff pastry sheets and use a mug to cut them in circles.

Whenever I make empanadas, I brush them with egg (or milk) and then sprinkle them with sugar. This recipe didn't call for that, but I did it all the same because it makes them so much better. Of course, if you are in a low-sugar diet or want them to be more authentic, skip this step.

Beef and Coconut Empanadas


  • 1 Tbsp. cooking oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 12-15 count package empanada shells
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten (optional)
  • sugar for sprinkling (optional)


Heat oil over medium-high heat in a frying pan or wok. Add the ground beef and stir fry until brown. Add the ginger and cook for one minute. Add the onions and peppers and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce and coconut milk, mix, bring down the heat to low and cook for five minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Turn oven on to 400F. Grease two baking pans.

Fill each empanada shell with approximately 1 tablespoon of filling. Fold in half, seal and crimp (watch tutorial. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle sugar on them.

Adapted from Clayton Babas's recipe at Guam Diner

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