How to Make Delicious Belizean Panades | Belize Food Recipes

How to Make Belizean Panades

belizean panades

Her name is Destinee and she was so desperate to find a Belizean panades recipe, she headed for cyberspace. “In need of a panades recipe,” she pleaded, not just because she loves them, but because her hubby is Belizean and “his family won’t give me any recipes”!

No worries, Destinee. Count on us to come to your recipe — er, rescue — with ideas for making these tasty fried pies. And if you decide not to share this info with your in-laws, we won’t tell a soul.

The History of Panades

The panades originated in Western Europe where it was served as a soup made from stale bread boiled in a variety of liquids. The poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, a vegetarian, called panades his favorite dish. Likely, the original version was brought over to the Western Hemisphere by explorers long before Shelley was born.

Brits flavored panades with sugar, currants and nutmeg, but long gone are the days of the “standard” panades stuffing. Today, fish, veggies, beans, cheese, chicken, beef and a combination of ingredients serve as fillings. To make panades, you start with the dough. What you stuff inside these savory finger foods is up to you!

There’s more than one way to make dough!

Depending upon the chef, recipe ingredients needed to craft a proper dough could make you glaze over. They’re just that long. You have options. Either use tortillas for the job or take the advice of culinary legend Marie Kennedy: buy corn dough ready-made.

But if you’re out to prove your culinary prowess, follow this recipe to make your dough from scratch: Mix between 3 and 4 cups of corn flour with between ¼ and ½-cup of water, up to 4 Tablespoons of recado rojo, ½ cup lard or corn oil plus 1 tsp. each of baking powder and salt. Knead the dough and let it rest for up to 15 minutes.

The secret is in the filling

While your dough is doing its thing, address your filling options. Whether you are a vegetarian like Shelley and just the thought of a large chopped onion and ¼-pound of cabbage soaked in vinegar plus salt and pepper make you happy, you can fill your panades with this tasty mix.

Love fish? One-half pound of deboned fish that’s been cooked and mashed plus spices and ½-pound of fried beans give eaters a taste of Belize that can’t be surpassed. It’s fun to experiment with ingredient mixes that may include cheese and/or meat.

Panades under construction

Time to assemble your panades. Enlist friends in an assembly line if you’re feeding a crowd. Roll dough into golf-sized balls and flatten each ball by hand or put it through a tortilla press. Sheets of plastic wrap on both sides of the dough can make the job easier.

Fill the center of each circle with a spoon of filling, fold it in half and seal the dough so nothing escapes once panades cook to perfection in boiling coconut or vegetable oil.

Whip up traditional onion sauce made of 2 cups of white vinegar, 1 chopped onion, 1 habanero pepper and salt to taste. Make the sauce earlier so it’s ready to spoon over the hot panades. You don’t have to tell anyone how many you ate, by the way.


Photo credit: Cooking with Shirani

Watch the below video on how to make Belizean Panades courtesy of the Cooking with Shirani Youtube Channel


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