I could not miss on this website one of the recipes that I love the most and make this version of whole wheat Arab empanadas. An easy recipe to make, really tasty and totally addictive!
I learned how to make this recipe a few years ago by watching my husband’s family make them. From a large family and with the tradition of preparing these typical meals all together as a family. So today this publication is dedicated to them and especially to “the mother-in-law”.
Arab empanadas or as they call them “safijas” are exquisite and very easy to make. Clearly this is a modified version that I make for this website with totally whole wheat dough. Which has nothing to envy to those made with refined all purpose flour.
I hope you like it and are encouraged to make this recipe because they do not compare at all with some bought Arabic empanadas. It is worth preparing these meals at home with quality ingredients and above all well done.
Let’s talk about the recipe:
Today I am going to teach you how to make these whole wheat Arabic empanadas just as I learned them to do (or quite similar). I must confess that throughout the years of preparing this recipe the result is increasingly similar to those made by the family.
Originally they are prepared with a kind of sour and acid yogurt called leban but it is not always available or can be made at the moment. So what they usually use is light cream cheese (choose one that is acidic) that gives it that necessary acid touch.
There are other recipes that add fresh tomato but the result is not the same. Although each one prepares them to their liking, it would be interesting for you to try this version and then you can compare which one you liked the most. I particularly like them with this cream cheese.
Other characteristics of these Arab empanadas is that the meat is not previously cooked like the traditional filling (picadillo) for Argentine empanadas. It is macerated with enough lemon juice to tenderize the meat and in the oven everything is cooked together.
Always try to use good, fat-free meat. It is preferable to buy a cut of meat and the butcher grinds it or if you have a food processor, do it yourself. It will not be the same result if you use ground beef that can contain a lot of fat. The difference in quality is very noticeable and it is not worth ruining a recipe like this.
Besides not cooking the meat. The onion that is used to prepare the filling is also not cooked beforehand. Maybe you think that it can make you feel bad because it gives you the impression that it is raw. But this is not really the case. This helps the empanadas come out juicy and very delicious.
Once the empanadas are ready before consuming, you cannot miss the lemon juice to put them at the moment (each one adds the amount of lemon juice to their liking, it is not added to all the empanadas when they take it out of the oven).
Do you have any doubt or suggestion? Write me a comment at the end of this recipe 👇
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- Whole wheat flour 500 g / 17,64 oz / 4 ¼ cups
- Dry instant yeast 5 g / 0,18 oz / 1 tsp - Fresh yeast 25 g / 0,88 oz
- Water 350 ml / 12,35 oz / 2 ½ cups
- Beef fat 30 g / 1,06 oz / 2 tbsp
- Salt 7 g / 0,25 oz / 1 ½ tsp
- Sugar 1 tsp
- Ground beef 500 g / 17,64 oz
- Onion 2
- Light cream cheese 250 g / 5,29 oz
- Lemon juice 1
- Optional: Salt and pepper
- In a container, place the water at room temperature. Dissolve the sugar and yeast. Leave for 15 minutes.
- Place the whole wheat flour with the salt in a bowl, on the table or food mixer. Add the dissolved yeast. Knead until unified.
- Incorporate the melted beef fat not very hot. Knead until you get a soft and smooth dough. Make a bun with the dough, cover and let rise until doubled in volume. Meanwhile prepare the filling.
- In a bowl place the defatted ground beef. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the diced onion and lemon juice. Mix.
- Incorporate the light cream cheese. Join well. Let it rest in the refrigerator for an hour.
- Divide the dough into buns of approximately 30-40 grams. Cover with a plastic so they do not dry out. Let rise until doubled in volume.
- To form the Arabian empanadas, stretch the dough roll giving it a round shape (sprinkle with a little flour if necessary but without overdoing it), place a little filling in the center of the dough, close by first folding one part and then the following. Wet the dough with a little water if necessary so they will close well.
- Place in a baking dish with vegetable spray or oil. Bake at medium high heat for approximately 20-30 minutes or until just golden brown. Don't overcook because they will come out tough. Add lemon juice before eating.
- Types of recommended meat cut: roast lid, flank or rump.