3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 onion, finely diced

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 ½ teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground

½ teaspoon allspice

1 tablespoon paprika

1 kg minced chicken


freshly ground black pepper

2 cups tomato passata

½ cup chopped coriander leaves

chilli powder to taste (optional)

2 egg yolks lightly beaten with 4 tablespoons milk

Yoghurt Pastry

600 g plain flour

a pinch salt

1 egg lightly beaten

500 g yoghurt



Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the onion garlic and sweat gently until soft and translucent. Add the spices and the minced lamb and stir well to combine. Add the tomato passata and stir well. Simmer over a medium heat until the lamb is cooked and the sauce is lovely and thick. Tip into a mixing bowl and leave to cool. When completely cold, fold in the coriander.

When ready to make the empanadas, preheat the oven to 200oC and lightly oil a baking tray.

Cut the pastry into 60 g portions. Roll each piece of dough out on a lightly floured work surface to a 10 cm circle. Lift the pastry circles onto the prepared baking tin and place a generous spoonful in the centre of each. Brush the edge of each circle with a little egg wash and fold over to enclose the filling. Press to seal.

Bake for 20mins, until the empanadas are crisp and golden.

Makes 20 – 30

Yoghurt Pastry

This soft tender pastry is virtually foolproof and can be made with yoghurt or sour cream. Either way, it cooks to a lovely crisp and light crust, and makes a great base for pizzas.

Sift the flour and salt onto a work surface. Make a well in the flour and pour in the beaten egg. Use your fingers to gradually work in the flour. Add the yoghurt and mix with your hands until it’s all incorporated. Knead gently to form a smooth, very soft pastry.

Divide the pastry into 2 portions, wrap them both in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using. When ready to use, roll the pastry out on a lightly floured work surface and line a tart tin or pie dish. Refrigerate again for at least 2 hours before using.

The pastry will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Makes 1 kg