Belizean Panadas are traditionally served on holy days, but in modern times they are served just about any day of the week. They can be made with almost any type of firm fleshed fish filling, or a spicy rice and beans mixture. Their version of the fried “meat pie”, Belizean Panadas are a special treat for any occasion.
Belizean Panadas Recipe-
- 3-4 cups masa corn flour
- 1/4-1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. Achiote rojo seasoning
- 12-15 oz. canned tuna and/or sardines
- 1 medium-sized white or yellow onion, peeled and chopped fine
- 1 cup rough chopped cabbage
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped fine
- 1 fresh habanero pepper (or dried and rehydrated)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 pint (more or less) of coconut oil
- 1 lime
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
You will also need-
- 1 tortilla press
- some Saran Wrap
For the Corn Dough-
- Sift together the baking powder, salt, Achiote rojo seasoning, and corn flour.
- Gradually pour water into the sifted mixture and knead until you have a moist dough. Do not make the dough too wet, just moist enough to mold and hold its shape.
- Allow the dough sit rest about 12 to 15 minutes, then mold it into 12 to 15 small balls.
For the Stuffing-
- Warm up your tuna and/or sardines in a skillet with a little of the coconut oil, then season them to taste with salt and pepper.
- Use a tortilla press to flatten the corn dough balls, placed in between 2 sheets of Saran Wrap – this will prevent the dough from sticking. Press half of the balls out into approximately 12″ rounds, about 1/8″ thick, and the other half into 4″ to 5″ rounds, at the same thickness.
- Remove the top sheet, and add some stuffing into the center of the larger rounds; fold the dough up around the filling to make a cup, then place the smaller rounds on top of the cups and crimp together tightly to make a well-sealed small pie.
- Heat the remainder of the oil (all but about 1 tsp.) for about 10-12 minutes on medium-high heat in a deep skillet. The skillet size-to-oil ratio should be just right so that the panades will be completely submerged in the oil.
- Carefully lower the panades into the oil and deep fry them until they have turned a rich golden brown color. Use a slotted spatula to remove them from oil when done, and place them on a flat, paper towel-lined surface to drain.
For the Salsa-
- Mix the chopped cabbage, onion and cilantro together with the lime juice, 1 tsp. of coconut oil, habanero, vinegar and water. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve your Belizean Panadas while still nice and warm, with the salsa on the table as a condiment.
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