Bean Empanada


Our alarm goes off and I can barely move. Madeleine peels herself out of bed and slips under the mosquito net. It’s 6am and she is heading out for her run. This weeks villages have been a long drive out (2 hours each way) and with lots of study and extra patients in each location I’ve been getting home in the dark, attempting conversation with Madeleine who is equally exhausted from juggling Lucas, baking and setting up a bakery.

The sun rises over Nakuru, it is a crisp morning and the mist is slowly dissipating. I am handed a box of empanadas and a thermos of hot coffee and head down to meet the team loading the van. Everyone has puffy eyes from the late finish the night before but I notice a spark in everyone, the team have relished the challenge and have impressed us so much these last few weeks.


The corrugated iron church is loaded with the kit



Everything is put in place and tested before the patients start being seen



Every patient has their vision tested 


They are measured for glasses and their vision re-measured with tailored specs to see if it improves what they can see


Patient’s wait patiently to go through ten different examinations



Beans are big in the Kenyan diet and the filling of these empanadas are inspired by what we have tasted here.

Recipe – Bean Empanadas



250g white strong bread flour

250g wholemeal flour

330ml water

7g dried yeast

8g salt

Bean filling:

200g dried beans

1 green pepper thinly sliced

3 tomatoes finely chopped

1 medium red onion chopped

veg stock cube in 500ml boiling water

1tsp cumin

1tsp coriander

chilli if you like

tbsp lemon juice

1tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt and black pepper


1. Add all the ingredients(apart from the lemon) to the bean filling to the pan, bring to the boil and simmer for a few hours until the beans are soft and the other ingredient are almost mushy around the beans then add the lemon juice. It made need topping up with water so it doesn’t become too dry.

2. To make the bread combine all the ingredients and knead for 8-10mins, fold into a round and place into a floured bowl and prove for 1-2 hours until doubled in size.

3. Roll out until about 3mm thick then use a saucer to cut circles out.  Place 2 desert spoon of filling on one semi-circle of the circle of dough and fold the other half over, seal by crimping with your fingers or using a fork.  If it does not seal well brush a small bit of water on the edge to seal.  Repeat for as many you would like to make.

4. Heat the oven to 200°C.  Place each shaped empanada on a floured silicone mat and leave for 20mins.

5. Just before placing in the oven brush with beaten egg and stamp fork holes through the top to allow the steam to escape.  Bake for 12-15mins until golden brown and crisp.

6. Eat warm if you can.  Also these would work very well with cheese inside and chilli in the bread dough but make sure you fold in after the first prove.

3 thoughts on “Bean Empanada

  1. Happy to hear your productive news, keep it up. We counting the days to see you.
    We celebrated the engagement today it was a fantastic day and everyone enjoyed it. We wished you were with us. You were in our hearts all the time. I will send some photos.

  2. Pingback: Vegetable Bread Pie | Eye Bake - Kenya

  3. Pingback: Jiko bread, 40 down, 60 to go… | Eye Bake - Kenya

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