Photo by Victor Consaga

Chicken turnovers


  • Soak ¾ cup achote seeds in 3 cups warm water to make achote water; set aside (Achiote or annatto)

Make 3 cups of chicken stock from:

  • 2 chicken thighs, large
  • 2 chicken drumsticks, large
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium and cook for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked thoroughly. Remove the chicken from the broth, debone it and cut it into small pieces. Set aside.

  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 medium-sized bell pepper
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp MSG (if desired)
  • 1½ cups cream of rice
  • ⅓ cups green onions, chopped
  • 2 hot (chile) peppers

Sauté garlic and onions in oil until tender (about 2-3 minutes).

Add bell pepper, salt, black pepper and MSG. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add achote water and chicken stock. Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low.

Add cream of rice, stirring constantly for 8-10 minutes or until rice is cooked.

Add green onions and hot pepper.

Remove from stove. Let cool.


  • 10 cups masa harina (Mexican corn meal)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups achote water (from ½ cup of achote seeds)
  • 3 cups water

Place masa harina in a large bowl. Add salt and achote water. Knead the dough until blended and form into 2-inch diameter balls. Press each ball into thin tortillas about 6 inches in diameter. Put one heaping teaspoon of empanada filling on the center of each tortilla and fold over. Press along the edges to seal (like turnovers). Heat oil about 2-inches deep in the frying pan about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Fry empanada for 8 minutes, turning over once or twice. Drain on paper towels.

Makes 45 empanadas.

By Regina Deplata

Editor’s note: This recipe is from Lepblon Fina’tinas Para Guam: Guam Cookbook, 1985. Reprinted with permission from Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo, Y Inetnon Famalao’an* (Women’s Association).

* Y Inetnon Famalao’an was a women’s organization composed of cabinet wives and women executives in the government of Guam.