Ecuadorian Empanadas with Aji Sauce

Morocho empanadas with aji chilli sauce

  • makes 8
  • A little effort

Check out these impressive pork Ecuadorian empanadas with punchy aji sauce. This moreish recipe may take a bit of time to make but are a perfect summer time snack


This recipe was written by John Gregory-Smith, inspired by his recent trip to Ecuador…

“I went on a quest to find the ultimate empanada in Ecuador. A local favourite were the empanadas de viento, or wind empanadas, filled with cheese and mainly air. Not for me. I prefer solid stuff when I devour an empanada. It was in the boho neighbourhood of La Floresta in Quito that I discovered morocho empanadas, packed with delicious filling and served with a fiery green chilli sauce called aji.”




  • fine cornmeal 260g
  • plain flour 130g
  • olive oil 2 tbsp
  • egg 1, beaten


  • basmati rice 25g
  • olive oil 1 tbsp
  • minced pork 270g
  • spring onions 4, finely chopped
  • garlic 3 cloves, finely chopped
  • paprika ¾ tsp
  • ground cumin 1½ tsp
  • dried chilli flakes ¾ tsp
  • tomato purée 2 tbsp
  • black beans 80g from a tin, drained
  • green olives 60g, pitted and sliced
  • coriander a small handful, finely chopped


  • green chilli 1, chopped
  • coriander a small bunch, chopped
  • spring onions 4, chopped
  • limes 5, juiced


  • Step 1

    To make the dough for the pastry, put the cornmeal and plain flour into a mixing bowl. Add the olive oil and a good pinch of salt. Slowly add 180-200ml of water, until everything comes together to form a firm dough. Once combined, roll into a ball, cover and leave to rest for 30 minutes.

  • Step 2

    Put the rice into a pan of boiling water over a high heat and cook for 10-12 minutes or until cooked. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain again.

  • Step 3

    Put all the ingredients for the chilli sauce into a mini food processor with a good pinch of salt. Pour in 5 tbsp of water and blend until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and leave the flavours to develop.

  • Step 4

    For the filling, heat the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Add the pork and fry for 5 6 minutes or until all the moisture has evaporated and it’s turning golden. Add the spring onions and garlic, season with salt and continue to fry for 2-3 minutes or until the spring onions have wilted. Add the spices, tomato purée, black beans, olives and cooked rice. Pour in 250ml of boiling water. Mix well and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture resembles thick gravy. Remove from the heat and add the coriander. Mix well and cool.

  • Step 5

    Heat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Divide the dough into eight and roll into balls, keeping them covered. Flatten one with the palm of your hand and use a rolling pin to roll into circles, about 17cm in diameter. Brush the edge of half of each circle with egg wash. Put a portion of the filling onto the same half of each circle; avoiding the part that has the egg wash on it. Fold the other half of the pastry over the top of the filling and gently press down on the sides to seal. Using a fork, crimp the folded edge, sealing it completely. Put onto a baking tray that has been lined with lightly oiled baking paper. Repeat with the rest of the pastry and filling.

  • Step 6

    Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are golden and the top crisp. Serve immediately with plenty of the aji chilli sauce.

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Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 314
  • Fat 10.4g
  • Saturates 2.2g
  • Carbs 40g
  • Sugars 1.1g
  • Fibre 3.4g
  • Protein 13.6g
  • Salt 0.5g