Published on Friday, August 6, 2021

By Melissa Pette

Last week we enjoyed Penny Haynes's recipe for delicious Texas-style empanadas with a Tico touch. Today, our new friend Johanna Peters invites us to fix more empanadas, but this time, itís a special gluten-free recipe.

Johanna tells a bit of her story moving from Australia to Costa Rica.

"My husband and I lived for a while in Venezuela due to his work as an officer in the Australian consulate. That allowed us to know and fall in love with the Latinos culture. Now we are retired and we decided to return to Latin America, but this time, we chose to live in the most peaceful and happy country in the world, Costa Rica."

The Peters jumped a little over the pond from Hurstbridge, Victoria in Australia, to live happily in Tamarindo Beach of Guanacaste.

Johanna invites us to fix this finger-licking fried empanadas recipe. "In Venezuela it is common to have breakfast with arepas or empanadas, to start the day strong," she said.

But I think Ticos prefer empanadas for coffee time.  Do you like to have empanadas for breakfast, lunch or dinner?

Let's go to the kitchen!

Gluten-free empanadas

Johanna's recipe with cassava root is an excellent gluten-free alternative. For 12 empanadas, the ingredients you need are:

- 3 cassava root.

- 1 boneless chicken breast.

- Ĺ chopped sweet green chili.

- Ĺ chopped sweet red chili.

- 1 chopped white onion.

- 1 sour lemon.

- Salt and pepper.

- Vegetal or sunflower oil.

First, peel the cassava and wash the white root very well. Chop the yuca into small pieces. In a large pot, add water and boil it. When the water is already boiling add the cassava. Cook it for 20 to 30 minutes, or until it is completely soft.

The water should cover the cassava in its entirety so that it will cook properly. When it is soft, remove the cassava and let it cool a little. Don't let it cool completely because you need it to be smooth.

Mash the cassava until it forms a puree. Then, knead the puree until you get a homogeneous consistency. With your hands make several small dough balls.

Place a plastic bag on the table. Put a dough ball and smash it with a plate until it forms a tortilla. Repeat the action with all the dough balls.

Then wash the chicken well. Remove the skin from the chicken. Rub the chicken with lemon juice.

In a bowl, add the chicken and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix the ingredients. Then chop the chicken into very small squares.

In a pan, fry the chopped chicken. Add the two types of chili and onion. Mix well.

Add a tablespoon of the fried chicken mixture over the tortillas. Close the tortilla forming a half-moon. Close and seal the tortilla by pressing on the edges with a fork.

In a large pan, add some oil. When it is hot add the empanadas. Fry one at a time for 5 minutes on each side of the patty.

Put the empanadas on kitchen paper to remove the oil excess. And yes! We all are ready for the coffee with empanadas!

Thank you so much to those readers who take their time to write. And especially to Johanna for sharing her gluten-free empanada recipe with us.

You are all invited to share your recipes with a horizontal photo of the dish by emailing More delightful recipes can be found on the AM Costa Rica Food page.

Pura Vida!

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