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Recipe for Asian turkey and cabbage empanadas with spicy dipping sauce

One of my favorite cross-cultural appetizers, Asian turkey and cabbage empanadas.

I never thought I'd say this, or even think it, but I am a disco queen. When I saw a four-pack of Goya discos -- 40 rounds of ready-to-bake empanada wrappers -- at BJ's, I did the happy dance right there in the freezer aisle. Almost anything can be turned into empanada filling: leftover cooked chicken, meatballs, chocolate. I've made traditional empanadas filled with cheese, but these take a more Asian turn, with ground turkey, Napa cabbage, and condiments from the Chinese shelf of my pantry. Take a simple filling, dress it up in a piece of flaky dough, and you can create something special in minutes. These freeze well, so make them ahead for a party, or pull two or three from the freezer and reheat for a quick lunch.

Asian turkey and cabbage empanadas

Asian turkey and cabbage empanadas with spicy dipping sauce

From the pantry, you'll need: discos, ground turkey, garlic, ginger root, reduced-sodium soy sauce, oyster flavored sauce, shao hsing wine, rice vinegar, Sriracha, hoisin sauce, honey, egg.

Makes 20, with a bit of filling left over to freeze or serve over steamed rice. Empanadas can be made ahead and frozen; reheat in a 375°F oven for 15 minutes.


1 tsp canola oil
1 lb ground turkey (I use 93% fat free)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp minced ginger root
6 cups thinly shredded Napa cabbage, cut into 1-inch lengths
6 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided
3 Tbsp oyster flavored sauce
1 Tbsp shao hsing wine
3-1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar, divided
1 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot
1-1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
2 packages of discos
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water
3 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1/4 tsp Sriracha, or more to taste
1 tsp honey, or 1 packet artificial sweetener


Preheat oven to 425°F. Prepare two sheet pans with Silpats (silicone liners) or parchment paper, and set aside.

In a wok or deep frying pan, heat the oil, and brown the turkey, breaking it up with a spatula as it cooks. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for 1 minute. Add the cabbage, and cook, stirring to begin to wilt the cabbage, for 2 minutes. Then, pour in 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, oyster flavored sauce, shao hsing wine and 1-1/2 teaspoons of rice vinegar. Continue stir-frying the mixture, making sure all ingredients are combined.

In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold water, and add the mixture into the pan. The sauce should thicken almost instantly. Remove the pan from heat and set aside to cool for 20 minutes.

Put some water in a small bowl. Set one disco on the counter top. Place a rounded tablespoon of turkey and cabbage filling in the center of the disco. Dip your index finger in the bowl of water, and run your finger around the edge of the disco. Fold the dough in half, and press with the tines of a fork to seal. Place each empanada on the baking sheet. When all are done, use a small pastry brush to paint with the beaten egg.

Bake for 11 minutes, until the tops are lightly browned.

Make the dipping sauce: In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the remaining soy sauce, rice vinegar, hoisin, Sriracha and honey/sweetener. Shake to emulsify. (Extra sauce will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.)

Serve empanadas hot or at room temperature, with the dipping sauce.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Shrimp and black bean empanadas
Empanadas filled with chicken picadillo
Goat cheese-olive empanadas
Cheese and red pepper empanaditas
Vegetable samosas

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Swiss chard, beet and goat cheese empanadas, from Laylita's recipes
Pork and apple empanadas, from Cooking by the seat of my Pants!
Tuna and roasted red pepper empanadas, from From Argentina With Love
Corn and goat cheese empanadas, from Apples and Butter
Raspberry, almond and goat cheese empanadas, from A Hint of Honey

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Oh gosh. I'm not sure about the Rhode Island weather, but sometimes I just wish I lived next door to you!

That sounds delicious! I love that they're baked, not fried. Even easier, but still tasty. Yum! I love Asian flavors. :)

I like to have some on hand in the freezer, but I can pick them up anytime at our grocer, so I don't have 40 just 10. Lol! These look amazing, I'll have to try this one. I bake mine too, and they are so good in lunches the next day.

These look delicious! Thank you for the inspiration. I've made wontons and potstickers, but never empanadas.

I sure wish I could find discos in Kentucky. I
have looked and looked. Those look great.

You found them in the freezer section, eh? I never bought them when I lived in the US, and, now that I want to, of course I can't find them. I'll start checking freezer section.... I can see why you would dance in delight - these look wonderful!

Friends in Chicago are speaking with reverence and awe about an empanada food truck. Maybe I'll head to BJ's and get a truck business going here. Interested in a partnership?

Kalyn, wouldn't that be fun? But let's live next door to each other in a place without snow!

Jenn, I always bake these. In fact, I don't think I've ever made fried empanadas with discos.

Lyndsey, there are only a few markets here that sell the discos, but if I were willing to drive a bit farther, into Providence, I could find them at the Latino markets there.

Karen, it sounds like you're a person who likes to make all kinds of wrapped things. I'm the same way, which is why I love the discos.

Carole, they can be hard to find. Maybe if your local grocery store carries other Goya products, they'd order discos for you.

Katie, yep, in the freezer section. I could pack some and send to France....

TW, wouldn't that be great? Only problem is that I have no parking karma, so maybe a food truck isn't the best career choice for me!

I love the Asian turn you took with these. Having something this good ready to grab in the freezer is a perfect fit for my lifestyle now. As always Lydia-great recipe!I have to agree with Kalyn with a little twist-I wish I lived next door to both of you,

Too cute on being a disco queen and wow, those look good! . :-) I sure wish they were gluten free. I must make empanadas myself one day. A group of us went to Pica Pica in San Francisco last year when we were there for BlogHer Food. Pica Pica was all gluten free and they had the most wonderful empanadas with a multitude of filling choices. It was heaven. I like your filling recipe ... I can actually imagine how good it tastes.


How funny! I just got back from Chile and was going to make their style of empanadas this week. Love the Asian flare - very creative!

Great recipe; there's a lot of interesting
flavors and textures here. I can't wait to try

These sound delicious, and fun to make. I have never made anything in a wrapper, and I have been wanting to try. This may be the time! Out of curiosity - is turkey eaten in Asia, or is this another twist?

doing a little catch-up reading...
but I have to suggest how about a cookbook?
"101 empanadas"

Empanadas have been on my to-do list forever... these look fantastic!

Dont think the asian thing goes well with empanadas, try steamed buns. The bread/masa for empanadas is just not suited for asian flavors.. steamed buns are not much harder to make than empanadas

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