Caribbean Pockets

I saw on a website that Havana Central (a Cuban restaurant with locations in NYC) was having an empanada contest.  Now, if you follow me on instagram you know that my empanadas have been a hit lately and many people request them.  I have made them with chicken, turkey, beef and even veggie ones.  Naturally when I saw this contest I thought “what encompasses the Caribbean and what makes your mouth happy”…. Coconut and Guava! I have made this glaze previously with chicken and it was AMAZING so I figured why not try it with shrimp!  Needless to say the outcome was delicious.
Here’s a tip…. to stretch the filling a bit further cut the empanada discs in 1/2.  When you cut the discs in half you will use about 2-3 shrimps in each one where if you keep the empanada whole you are using 4-6 shrimps.
Crispy empanadas stuffed with shrimps in a guava coconut glaze.
Crispy empanadas stuffed with shrimps in a guava coconut glaze.
1lb clean and drained shrimps
2.5 oz Guava Paste
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1 tbsp Sweetened shredded coconut
4 oz Water
1 Package of empanada discs (10 in a package)
2 Cups of oil (for frying, I use canola)
Mis En Place:
Cutting Board
10″ frying pan
1 qt. Saucepan
Tongs (to flip empanadas while frying)
Measuring spoons
Spoon to stir glaze
Now get cooking: Dice or slice guava paste so that it is very thin and will dissolve faster.  Place the guava paste bits into a 10″ sauce pan along with the water making sure the water covers the guava paste. Let the paste dissolve in the water while simmering and stirring frequently.  When paste has dissolved add the coconut, garlic powder and cayenne pepper.  Stir to incorporate the seasonings then add shrimp.  Coat the shrimp well, turn up to high heat and cover the saucepan .  The shrimp will release water and make the glaze looser.  Uncover the pan and continue to cook shrimp and reduce the sauce. Once the glaze is thick and shrimp are fully cooked turn off heat.
Scoop shrimp into the center of the empanada disc, being sure not to put in too much sauce.  Fold over the empanada and seal with a fork.  In a saucepan place the oil and heat until about 375 degrees.  Be sure your saucepan is deep enough for the whole empanada to be submerged in the oil.  Once oil is hot place empanada in and turn until it is golden brown.  These delicious empanadas can be served as an appetizer or a quick meal.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.