Enjoy a healthier version of Alcapurrias – Baked Alcapurrias. Traditionally, alcapurrias are fritters that consist of a dough made with yautías (taro root), green plantains or green bananas and filled with a well-seasoned ground beef meat mixture known as “picadillo.” Once the alcapurrias are assembled, they are then fried in a skillet.
I, however, prepare a much healthier version of the alcapurrias. I use ground turkey and bake the alcapurrias wrapped in plantain leaves. When I serve the alcapurrias to my guests and inform them that they are prepared with ground turkey and baked, they are totally shocked because they were not able to tell the difference in regards to flavor and texture!
Furthermore, the filling can also consist of stewed land crabs. In Puerto Rico, these fritters are sold at food stands along the beach or festivals and served as appetizers or finger foods. There are three (3) major food components to this dish: Annatto Oil, Meat Filling and Dough for the Baked Alcapurrias.
Preparing the Annatto Oil for the Baked Alcapurrias!
To prepare the annatto oil, pour 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil and then add ⅓ cup of annatto seeds into the saucepan. Stir until well blended.
Cook over low heat until the oil changes into a red-orange color for approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Do not overheat the oil.
We can now strain the annatto oil, using a fine-mesh sieve. Discard the used annatto seeds and set aside the annatto oil.
Annatto Oil is mainly used to add color to the meat filling, dough and to apply oil on the banana leaves.
Preparing the Meat Filling (Picadillo) for the Baked Alcapurrias!
In a skillet, pour 2 tablespoons of annatto, ½ teaspoon of Lite salt (or to taste), 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce, 6 chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives and 2 tablespoons of sofrito made with culantro.
Sofrito is our puréed condiments that gives our cuisine a unique tropical flavor and aroma. Click on the links to learn how to prepare large batches of Sofrito or How to Make Sofrito for a Single Meal.
Continue by adding, 3 sprigs of chopped cilantro, ½ teaspoon of capers and 2 ounces of diced lean ham. The ham is optional. However, I like my meat filling with ham for the alcapurrias.
Stir the ingredients until well blended and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes over low heat.
We can now add 1 pound of ground turkey. Coat the ground turkey completely with the seasoned tomato-oil based sauce. Since the ground turkey has a tendency to clump together when cooked, initially stir the meat frequently to obtain a minced or chopped texture by continuing to break up the meat with the spoon.
As a result, this avoids any clumps from forming. Cover skillet with lid and continue cooking for approximately 20 to 30 minutes over medium low heat but this time stirring occasionally.
The Picadillo (meat mixture) has been cooking for 25 minutes and it has the minced texture that we are looking for. By the way, I added 4 more tablespoons of annatto oil because the meat mixture did not appear moist. The meat filling is ready. Place in a bowl and set aside.
Cutting and Peeling the Green Plantain for the Baked Alcapurrias!
I prepare the dough using only taro roots (yautías) and green plantains. However, some individuals use all three varieties of produce while others just prefer preparing the dough with green bananas and taro roots (yautías). Therefore, It is an individual preference.
The green plantains are member of the banana family but are longer, thicker and much starchier than the familiar banana.
Cut off both ends for green plantain. For this recipe, you will need 2 green plantains.
Make three slits lengthwise from top to bottom with a knife.
With your hands, remove the peel and continue this process until the skin is completely removed.
Cutting and Peeling the Yautías for the Baked Alcapurrias!
The taro root (Yautía) is a tuberous, starchy tropical root vegetable with brown and shaggy skin. The color of the flesh can be white, cream or pink.
Similarly, cut off both ends of the taro root (yautía).
Lastly, peel the skin with a knife or potato peeler.
Rinse the taro root (yautías) and green plantains. Fill a bowl with water and add the peeled produce to avoid from turning brown until they are grated.
Preparing the Dough for the Baked Alcapurrias!
Grate the root vegetables and starchy fruit, using the super-fine blade side of a box grater. Most importantly, you can also use a food processor or a specialty machine for grating.
Since I make a small batch of alcapurrias for my family, I grate the root vegetables and starchy fruits manually. Furthermore, I wear a cut resistant glove when grating my root vegetables to avoid cutting my skin on the blade.
Place grated dough in a bowl and add 2 teaspoons of lite salt (or to taste) and 2 tablespoons of annatto oil.
Stir dough with a spoon until the color of dough is uniform.
Cutting the Plantain Leaves!
You will need 12 plantain leaves cut into 8 x 8 or 8 x 6 inches. I use the first cut as a pattern to cut the remaining leaves. Make sure the width is 8 inches wide and the ribs of the leaves are vertical to allow folding both sides of the leaf with ease.
After all the leaves have been cut to size, then wipe each side of leaf with a clean wet kitchen cloth.
Assembling the Alcapurrias!
Spread ½ teaspoon of annatto oil in center of leaf.
Place ¼ cup of dough on top of leaf and make a well in the center. Add 1 heaping tablespoon of meat filling in the center of dough lengthwise.
With a stainless steel spoon, fold the edges of dough towards the center, covering meat filling with dough.
The meat filling is completely covered with dough.
Shaping the Alcapurrias!
Lift the plantain leaf with both hands and gently roll the alcapurria from side to side for a round cylinder shape.
The alcapurria should measure approximately 4 to 5 inches long, 1-½ to 2 inches wide and ½ to 1 inch thick. Continue to roll the alcapurrias until you obtain your desired length.
Smooth the edges at both ends of alcapurria with a spoon.
Once the alcapurria is formed, brush annatto oil lightly on top. Fold the banana leaf lengthwise to cover the alcapurria. Repeat this process for the remaining alcapurrias.
Baking the Alcapurrias!
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place wrapped alcapurrias on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Most importantly, make sure parchment paper can be placed in oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes of baking, the alcapurrias are fully cooked. However, if you prefer a crispier outer texture, then partially unwrap each one – exposing the top part of the alcapurrias.
Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes or until you obtain the crispiness of your liking.
Unwrap the alcapurrias and serve warm.
Enjoy a healthier version of alcapurrias without sacrificing the flavor or texture.
Click on the button below to watch my YouTube video on How to Bake Alcapurrias!
Recipe and Nutritional Facts!
Nutritional Information is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. Please refer to our Nutritional Facts Disclaimer for more information.Print
Enjoy a healthier version of our traditional alcapurrias without sacrificing the flavor or texture when baked!
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup of annatto seeds
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 2 tablespoons annatto oil
- ½ teaspoon salt (low sodium) or to taste
- 2 tablespoons sofrito
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato sauce
- 6 pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped
- ½ teaspoon capers, drained
- 3 sprigs of cilantro, chopped
- 2 ounces lean ham, diced
- 2 green plantains, peeled
- 1 pound taro root (yautías), peeled
- 2 teaspoons salt (low sodium) or to taste
- 2 tablespoons annatto oil
12 plantain leaves, cut into 8 x 6 inches or 8 x 8 inches
Use the remaining annatto oil to spread on leaf and brush on top of dough. Save leftover annatto oil in a container with lid for other recipes. Store for 4 to 5 days.
- Heat oil and annatto seeds in a saucepan until the oil changes into a red-orange color.
- Strain the annatto oil and set aside.
- Add all the ingredients except ground turkey into a skillet and stir well.
- Saute for 3 to 5 minutes. Place ground turkey into skillet and coat evenly with the seasoned tomato-oil based sauce.
- Stir the meat frequently to obtain a minced texture and avoid any clumps from forming. Cover skillet with lid and cook over medium low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Grate the taro roots and green plantains, using the super fine blade of a box grater.
- Place grated dough into a bowl and add salt and annatto oil. Stir dough until color is uniform.
- Spread ½ teaspoon of annatto oil on a plantain leaf.
- Place ¼ cup of dough on top of plantain leaf.
- Make a well in center of dough and place 1 heaping tablespoonful of meat mixture in the center of dough lengthwise.
- Cover meat filling completely with dough with a spoon.
- Lift plantain leaf with both hands and roll the alcapurria from side to side for a round cylinder shape, approximately 4 to 5 inches long, 1-½ to 2 inches wide and ½ to 1 inch thick.
- Brush a small amount of annatto oil on top of each alcapurria.
- Wrap each alcapurrias in the plantain leaf, folding both sides lengthwise.
- Place wrapped alcapurrias on a baking sheet. Bake in oven for 30 minutes at 350°F.
- Partially unwrap each one, exposing the top part of the alcapurrias. Bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes to brown on top if you so desire.
- Serve warm.
If you prefer to use green bananas instead of green plantains for the dough, then you will need 5 green bananas.
- Category: Appetizers and Snacks
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Puerto Rican