The Happy Home Cook: Vigan Empanadas

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Vigan Empanadas (Photo by Rene Astudillo)

Vigan Empanadas (Photo by Rene Astudillo)

Vigan (as opposed to Vegan) is a city in the province of Ilocos Sur in Northern Philippines. It is not only a UNESCO heritage site (place considered to be of world historical and cultural significance) but has recently been named one of the 7 Wonder Cities of the World.

On the culinary front, Vigan is famous for many signature Filipino dishes including the dinengdeng (assorted vegetables with tasty broth), Vigan bagnet (deep fried pork with tomato salsa), Vigan longganisa (pork sausage) and poqui poqui (eggplant salad).  And then there’s the Vigan empanada.

Empanadas are a delicacy in many parts of the world, but Vigan’s is unique in its ingredients and preparation. It includes vegetables like green papaya or cabbage, carrots, skinless Vigan longganisa,  and egg. It is deep-fried, and served with a special vinegar dip, known as sukang Iloko (vinegar from the Ilocos region of the Philippines). It is usually prepared with fresh dough for the wrapping, but this recipe uses the convenience of pre-packaged Goya discos (ready-to-cook dough for empanadas available in the U.S. at Mexican grocery stores.)

Ingredients (for 10 empanadas)

1 pack Goya discos
1 cup shredded green papaya (may be substituted with cabbage)
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup cooked Vigan longganisa (skin discarded)
10 fresh eggs
Olive oil for deep-frying
1/2 cup vinegar for dipping sauce
5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
Salt and pepper to taste


In a large wok, heat 2 tbsps of Olive oil. Add garlic and saute till golden brown. Add green papaya and carrots and saute until cooked, adding salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside. Place a dough on a flat surface. Add about 2 tablespoons of the papaya-carrot mixture. Add 2 tablespoons of longganisa. Break one egg and place yolk over the mixture, and add the egg white to the remaining vegetables. Fold the dough in half and seal. Repeat process for the rest of the empanadas. Heat Olive oil in a large wok or deep fryer. Deep-fry the empanadas until golden brown. Remove from wok and drain excess oil using paper towels. Serve with vinegar dip.

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Rene Astudillo

Rene Astudillo

Rene Astudillo is a blogger and a marketing consultant.

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