Vegan Alcapurrias
5 from 3 votes
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By Lyana Blount | Black Rican Vegan

Lyana Blount is the chef and owner of Black Rican Vegan, a successful pop-up restaurant servicing New York City and beyond. She has been featured in the New York Times, Buzzfeed, and more. Lyana lives and cooks in the Bronx. In this article, she shares her recipe for Vegan Alcapurrias.

Alcapurrias are a delicious handheld treat using root vegetables. They are a labor of love but one that is very worth it. These were often purchased from local street vendors in my neighborhood or at the Puerto Rican Day festival in New York City. My family didn’t have many of the high-tech tools we have now in the kitchen, so we used a grater to grate the green banana and yautia (taro root) for the masa. Now, I use a food processor to reduce the prep time and they come out just as good. Veganizing them was as simple as just replacing the meat filling.

Ingredients You’ll Need

How To Make This Vegan Alcapurrias

Step 1: Creating Homemade Achiote Oil

Start by making achiote oil, which is a way to flavor and color food without using Sazón packets. In a small pot over medium heat, combine 1 cup (240 ml) of the vegetable oil and the annatto seeds. Allow the oil to heat up. As it gets hot, it will activate the color of the annatto seeds.

Stir occasionally. You do not need to bring this to a boil—you want to stir and heat enough that the oil turns into a deep orange-red color. Once that has happened, remove the pot from the heat and let the oil sit until it is cool enough to pass through a strainer. Strain the oil into a bowl. Now, you have achiote oil! If you have leftover oil, store it in a jar on your shelf for up to 2 months.

Step 2: Preparing the Masa Base

Peel the green bananas and green plantain and cut them into small disks about ½ inch (1.3 cm) wide. Use a potato peeler to peel the yautia and then chop it into small pieces.

In a food processor, combine the banana, plantain, and yautia pieces with a little less than ¼ cup (about 55 ml) of achiote oil and process until you get a masa consistency. If you are not familiar with masa, it should be blended enough that it’s almost like a paste batter. You should have no clumps or hard pieces—if so, continue to process further. If your food processor isn’t strong enough to process everything at once, process in smaller batches.

Step 3: Assembling Alcapurrias

Pour the masa into a bowl and add your salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and oregano. Stir to combine.

Use a piece of waxed paper or a banana leaf to mold your alcapurrias. With one hand, hold the paper or leaf, and use your other hand to add ¼ cup (55 g) of masa, spreading it into a small oval.

Add a small dollop of picadillo to the center and add one more ¼ cup (55 g) of masa over the filling until you cover it evenly. Repeat until all the masa is used.

Step 4: Frying Alcapurrias and Enjoy!

In a skillet, heat the remaining 3 cups (706 ml) of vegetable oil to 375°F (190°C) and gently add the alcapurrias, two at a time—you don’t want to overcrowd the pot. Fry them on both sides, about 5 minutes per side, making sure to fry them thoroughly.

Serve with my mayo ketchup.

Vegan Alcapurrias – Recipe Card

Vegan Alcapurrias

Vegan Alcapurrias

5 from 3 votes
Experience the essence of Puerto Rican street food with this Vegan Alcapurrias. This recipe captures the flavors of the island using green bananas, plantains, and yautia, all veganized and packed with deliciousness. The key is the homemade achiote oil, elevating the taste and color. Crispy, golden, and served with mayo ketchup, these handheld delights are a must-try!
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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Author: Lyana Blount
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 cups 946 ml vegetable oil, divided
  • ¼ cup 40 g annatto seeds
  • 4 green bananas
  • 1 green plantain
  • 1 medium-sized yautia about ½ lb [225 g]
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Waxed paper or banana leaf for molding
  • Mayo ketchup

Instructions

  • Start by making achiote oil, which is a way to flavor and color food without using Sazón packets. In a small pot over medium heat, combine 1 cup (240 ml) of the vegetable oil and the annattoseeds. Allow the oil to heat up. As it gets hot, it will activate the color of the annatto seeds. Stir occasionally. You do not need to bring this to a boil—you want to stir and heat enough that the oil turns into a deep orange-red color. Once that has happened, remove the pot from the heat and let the oil sit until it is cool enough to pass through a strainer. Strain the oil into a bowl. Now, you have achiote oil! If you have leftover oil, store it in a jar on your shelf for up to 2 months.
  • Peel the green bananas and green plantain and cut them into small disks about ½ inch (1.3 cm) wide. Use a potato peeler to peel the yautia and then chop it into small pieces.
  • In a food processor, combine the banana, plantain and yautia pieces with a little less than ¼ cup (about 55 ml) of achiote oil and process until you get a masa consistency. If you are not familiar with masa, it should be blended enough that it’s almost like a paste batter. You should have no clumps or hard pieces—if so, continue to process further. If your food processor isn’t strong enough to process everything at once, process in smaller batches.
  • Pour the masa into a bowl and add your salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin and oregano. Stir to combine.
  • Use a piece of waxed paper or a banana leaf to mold your alcapurrias. With one hand, hold the paper or leaf, and use your other hand to add ¼ cup (55 g) of masa, spreading it into a small oval.
  • Add a small dollop of picadillo to the center and add one more ¼ cup (55 g) of masa over the filling until you cover it evenly. Repeat until all the masa is used.
  • In a skillet, heat the remaining 3 cups (706 ml) of vegetable oil to 375°F (190°C) and gently add the alcapurrias, two at a time—you don’t want to overcrowd the pot. Fry them on both sides, about 5 minutes per side, making sure to fry them thoroughly.
  • Serve with my mayo ketchup.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Reprinted with permission from Black Rican Vegan by Lyana Blount. Page Street Publishing Co. 2023. Photo credit: Mariana Peláez.

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Black Rican Vegan Book

About the Cookbook

Growing up in a Puerto Rican and Black household, Lyana Blount knew from a young age that food was a love language, and it was one she intended to master. After going vegan, she set out to capture the flavor, vibrancy, and love in her family’s recipes with lighter plant-based ingredients. And with that, her NYC pop-up Black Rican Vegan was born! In this personal collection of recipes, Lyana shares the secrets behind the vegan, Latin soul food she’s famous for, so you can make her incredible meals right in your own kitchen and enjoy healthier versions of beloved classics.

These 60 dishes combine crowd-pleasing favorites from the Black Rican Vegan menu, OG meals from the five boroughs, and passed-down family recipes. Make Puerto Rican fare like Holiday Vernil, Chicharron sin Carne, Mofonguitos con Vegan Camarones, and Sopa de Salchicon. Celebrate the diverse NYC food scene with recipes like Moxtails, NYC Bacun Eggin Cheeze, Succulent Birria Tacos, Titi’s Lasagna for Dad, and Bronx Fried Oyster Mushrooms. Lyana’s ingenious plant-based swaps will have you wowing your friends and family with ridiculously good meals no one will believe are vegan. Because after all, food is love, and nothing helps you share that more than the incredible plant-based recipes in Black Rican Vegan.

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More Vegan Recipes You Might Like

If you enjoyed this Alcapurrias recipe, you might also like Lyana’s Famous Vegan Flancocho. Click here to get the recipe.

Flancocho
Lyana Blackrican

Connect with Lyana on Instagram and at blackricanvegan.com

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