The World Of Empanadas: Colombian gastronomy
Ever wonder what heaven tastes like? It has to be something similar to empanadas: one of the most, if not the most, traditional food in Colombia. They come in many shapes and sizes, with different fillings and combinations. In this article, you will find a little bit of history and where you can try empanadas when coming to Colombia.
Empanadas are definitely a food you must try when coming to Colombia. Although they are very typical in Latin American diets, the Colombian empanadas are widely known because of their delicious taste. They are basically a triangular shape made of a special dough (ground corn or with wheat or corn flour) stuffed with meats, vegetables, or even fruit, and baked or fried in oil or fat. There are many different types of empanadas. Like arepas, they are one of the most versatile foods you’ll ever eat (and for the most affordable price).
A little bit of history
The word empanadas comes from “empanar”, meaning “to enclose something in a mass or bread.” In colonial times (i.e. with the conquest of America) empanadas were introduced into the diet of the inhabitants, reaching different countries on the continent and, over time, the ingredients and the preparation methods were modified by different regions. In Colombia, they are considered a gastronomic symbol because they have elements of the country’s three basic cultures: indigenous, Creole and Afro-Colombian. The indigenous contribution is the corn, the Afro-Colombian contribution is the fried technique because they are the ones who brought it to Latin America, and the Creole contribution is the filling. Empanadas used to be consumed mostly during Christmas or holidays, but nowadays people eat them all the time: in meals, as a snack, as a side, or just to satisfy a craving.
Variations and types of empanadas.
The wonderful world of empanadas is a delight that almost no one can resist. Almost anywhere in Colombia, you’ll find good empanadas, and, as mentioned before, very different ones depending on where you are.
The variations come in the type of corn used, the filling, the shape, the size, and the preparation (fried in oil or fat, or baked in the oven). They are made of ground corn, wheat, or corn flour. Traditionally they are stuffed with meat, rice, a hard-boiled egg, cheese or chicken, but nowadays there are some made with pineapple, Ajiaco (yes, Ajiaco! Read our article My Rediscovery of the Ajiaco to know what it is), or even sweet guava. The size and shape depends a lot on the filling (the most typical is the round-cornered triangular one). Empanadas are usually accompanied with ají (hot pepper sauce), guacamole, lemon or salsa rosada “pink sauce” (combination of ketchup and mayonnaise). pink sauce
There is, however, one important thing that unifies and identifies all types of empanadas in Colombia: they don’t have social class. Empanadas are everywhere for everyone: served in the most sordid places, to the fanciest clubs
Want to try empanadas in Arnhem?
If you’re coming to Arnhem, there are a place where you can try excellent empanadas. Visit Chazzz Food Arnhem.
Empanadas are usually eaten with Pony Malta (a traditional Colombian non-alcoholic soft drink with a malt base) or Colombiana (the most famous Colombian soda).
For a hungry stomach, the empanada is like water in the desert; necessary, and can be eaten anytime, anywhere, and for a reasonable price. It never fails to amaze! I really think that apart from being absolutely delicious, they are a very important part of our culture and gastronomy. The history of empanadas goes along with our history as a country. Don’t miss the opportunity of doing an “empanada tour” when coming to Arnhem!