Asian Turkey Cabbage Empanadas with Spicy Dipping Sauce

Asian Turkey Cabbage Empanadas with Spicy Dipping SauceI 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.

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.

Recipe: Asian Turkey Cabbage Empanadas with Spicy Dipping Sauce


  • 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


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Prepare two sheet pans with Silpats (silicone liners) or parchment paper, and set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Bake for 11 minutes, until the tops are lightly browned.
  6. 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.)
  7. Serve empanadas hot or at room temperature, with the dipping sauce.

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