Bolivian Empanadas Tucumanas

Tucumanas are another one of Bolivia’s fantastic street foods. They are a very filling meat pastry that is usually eaten as a mid-morning snack or a light lunch. The pastry is filled with meat, onions, potatoes, carrots, peas, hard boiled eggs and olives is deep fried and served with a variety of sauces which you tend to top up after every bite.

Bolivia, La Paz - Tucumana sellerI have fond memories of walking down El Prado in La Paz and not being able to resist the pull of a Tucumana stand and giving in to one…often on my way to have lunch!

I have been making them in the UK for a few years since they don’t really have many Bolivian ingredients that are hard to find here… but, as is the case with any Empanada, they are not difficult to make, but they do TAKE TIME… often much more than you think… so save them for those very special occasions.

I made this last lot for my Mum in Law’s birthday in early April and I have to say they were rather nice!

The detailed recipes are below, but I also include a series of photos to guide you step by step.

Bolivian Empanadas Tucumanas
Recipe Type: Bolivian Street Food
Cuisine: Bolivian
Author: Fair Trade Living
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: about 30[url:1][img:1][/url]
Bolivian Street Food – Meat filled pastry (Empanada)
  • Filling:
  • 500 gr minced pork or beef (or combination of both)
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 4-6 small potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • Mixed herbs, chili, salt, pepper and cumin (to taste)
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 handful of olives
  • Dough:
  • 500 gr self raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 heaped spoons of butter
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of warm milk
  1. – Brown the meat and then add all the vegetables and herbs (reserve the olives and eggs) and simmer with plenty of water for around an hour until the vegetables are all cooked and the water has evaporated, leaving a pretty dry and flavoursome filing. Leave to cool.
  2. – Place the flour and all the dry ingredients in a bowl and add the eggs, butter and then the milk little by little. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until you have a soft dough. Leave to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  3. – Make small golf sized balls with the dough and then roll them into circles about the size of side plate.
  4. – Add about 2 heaped spoons of filling, a bit of egg and olives and then press the edges to close the parcels and then twist and press them until you seal them.
  5. – Heat vegetable oil in a deep pan until it’s very hot, then drop the empanadas one by one for 1-3 minutes until they turn golden.
  6. Serve with llajwa, mayonnaise or any other dip you prefer!