Many moons ago, I first tasted the ‘empanada’ of El Gusto Restaurant on Claro M. Recto Street, I knew I had to come up with a recipe just like it. Sometimes in the middle of the night, I would crave their meat pies and would ask the messenger to get some – it was that good. But they must have changed cooks because lately, only the crust remains the same. It is sad when a good product becomes popular, and then something happens to make it inferior. For most things, quality is still the best standard.
This is good for ‘merienda’ (afternoon snack) or light meal. During my catering days, I accepted an order of 1000 pieces of these, and my staff and I worked through the day and night to ready them for delivery. Never again!

Makes 25 pies.


Filling –

    • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed garlic
    • 125 grams finely chopped onions
    • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
    • 500 grams ground pork or 250 grams ground pork and 250 grams ground beef
    • 1 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/4 cup raisins
    • 125 grams potatoes – cut into 1/4-inch cubes and slightly pan fried

Crust: See Empanada Recipe


  1. In a medium sized wok, placed over medium-low fire, saute garlic and onions in oil until onions are transparent and garlic slightly browned.
  2. Add the ground meat, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and raisins.
  3. Cook until meat is browned but not dry; turning the meat often till this is done.
  4. Add pan friend potato cubes, the reduce the heat to low, stirring occasionally until mixture is dry.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool.
  6. Prepare crust using Empanada pastry recipe.
  7. Cut out pastry into 5-inch diameter circles, using a cardboard pattern as a guide.
  8. Repeat with other pieces of dough.
  9. For each set of cut pastry, begin to fill them.
  10. Divide the meat mixture into 25 equal portions; you can weigh the lot and divide accordingly.
  11. Place a portion on one side of the rolled out crust.
  12. Brush around edge of crust with a mixture of 1 egg white and 1 tablespoon cold water, lightly beaten.
  13. Fold over the crust to make a half moon.
  14. Roll the edges, into tiny folds, all around to seal.
  15. Brush with egg white mixture or milk, to give it a nice gloss when baked.
  16. Arrange pies on greased and floured baking sheet or line baking sheet with baking paper.
  17. Leave 1-inch space between pies.
  18. Bake in a preheated oven 180ºC or 350ºF for 20 minutes or until the pies are a light golden brown.