Empanadas de viento or fried cheese empanadas are the most delicious traditional Ecuadorian empanadas – they are filled with cheese (and diced onions if you want), fried until crispy, and served sprinkled with sugar. These are truly my favorite empanadas of all time, the combination of the gooey cheese and onions inside a crispy fried empanada and topped with sugar is delicious. I would eat these every day if I could (probably not a healthy idea), these empanadas de viento are the perfect breakfast or afternoon snack with a hot cup of black coffee. The most important part is making sure the empanadas are sealed well, I seal them four times: first with my fingers, next with a fork, then with my fingers twisting and folding the edges, and finally with the fork again. It also helps if the empanadas rest for about an hour in the fridge before frying them, this might seem over the top just to seal an empanada, but I have experienced them leaking while they are being fried and it is very messy.
These fried empanadas also make a great appetizer, or according to Nicolas a great dessert. We had an argument about that, “they’re NOT a dessert” was my reply, he insisted “but they have sugar on top, so that makes them a dessert”. Anyway I wasn’t very successful, so if you would like to consider these a dessert then go ahead (but they’re not). Either way they are yummy and extremely easy to make, especially if you cheat and use the store bought empanada discs.
Recipe for empanadas de viento or fried cheese empanadas, these delicious traditional Ecuadorian empanadas are filled with cheese, fried until crispy, and served sprinkled with sugar.
- 15 medium size or 25 small empanada discs (use this recipe for homemade empanada dough for frying or store bought empanada discs)
- ~2 ½ cups grated cheese (you can use quesillo, mozzarella, monterey jack, Oaxaca or any other cheese that melts well or a combination of your favorites)
- 1 cup finely chopped white onion (optional)
- ½ cup sugar for sprinkling
- Oil for frying
- Mix the grated cheese and chopped onions together.
- Spoon the cheese filling on the center of the each empanada disc.
- Fold the empanada discs and seal the edges, first pressing gently with your fingers, next use a fork to press down and seal, finally twist and fold the edges of the empanadas and then use the fork again for the final sealing.
- Chill the empanadas for at least an hour, this will help them seal better and prevent leaks.
- Fry the empanadas either in a deep fryer or in a frying pan, if using a frying pan add enough oil to cover at least half of the empanada, let the oil get very hot and fry each empanada until they are golden on each side or about a minute per side.
- Place the empanadas on paper towels to drain any excess oil, sprinkle generously with sugar and serve warm.