An empanada is a type of baked or fried turnover consisting of pastry and filling, common in Latin American and Filipino cultures. The name comes from the Spanish verb empanar, and literally translates as “breaded”, that is, wrapped or coated in bread. They are made by folding dough over a filling, which may consist of meat, cheese, corn, or other ingredients, and then cooking the resulting turnover, either by baking or frying.
They resemble turnovers from many other cuisines and cultures, including the pasty from the British Isles, the samosa from the Central and South Asia, or the pirozhki from Russia.
Empanadas trace back their origins to the northwest region of Spain, Galicia. A cookbook published in Catalan in 1520, Libre del Coch by Robert de Nola, mentions empanadas filled with seafood in the recipes for Catalan, Italian, French, and Arabian food.
Empanadas, mainly based on South American recipes, are widely available in New York City, New Jersey, and Miami from food carts, food trucks, and restaurants. Empanadas are usually found in U.S. areas with a large Hispanic population, like San Antonio and Los Angeles.
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