Smoked Fish Panades

“Panades” – Belizean Empanades – a classic snack filled with smoked fish, beans, or cheese, and topped with spicy fresh cortido.

A simple fried snack, panades are a favorite of young and old alike. Panades are yet another Belizean food that is often a community event to make and eat together. Essentially a corn tortilla folded in half with smoked fish filling, beans or cheese, Panades are often assembled in an assembly line; the first person operating the tortilla press, the second adding the filling and folding the panada in half, the third, doing the frying. The topping for panades is called cortido and is a sauce made from White Vinegar, Onions, Salt and Haberneros. This sauce gives each panada a kick, and balancing the fried flavor with an acidic spice.

Smoked Fish Panades

Prep Time: 45 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Yields: 36


  • Corn Dough: 3-4 cups - corn flour (Maseca brand is best)
  • Corn Dough: 1/4-1/2 - cup water
  • Corn Dough: 3-4 Tablespoons - recado rojo
  • Corn Dough: 1/2 - cup lard or corn oil
  • Corn Dough: 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Corn Dough: 1 teaspoon salt
  • Filling: Smoked Fish pulled apart and all bones sorted out
  • Cortido: 2 + cups distilled white vinegar
  • Cortido: 1 Onion diced
  • Cortido: 1 Habanero diced
  • Cortido: Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying, Vegetable or Coconut Oil


  1. Sift together dry ingredients for the corn dough: corn flour, baking powder and salt. Mix in recado and water slowly mixing by hand.
  2. Let dough rest for 10-15 minutes, and then form/roll into golf-ball sized balls by hand.
  3. Make sure you filling is ready. The filling can be beans, cheese, meat, but today, we are making fish panades! Season smoked fish to taste.
  4. Using a tortilla press, press the dough balls into flat disks. It's easiest if you use plastic on either side of the tortilla press. (A ziplock bag cut in half works well).
  5. Place a spoonful of the filling in the center of each round dough disk. Fold dough over and press edges together with fingertips.
  6. Once a few of the raw panades are forms, start heating your oil. You want enough oil so that the panades can be covered.
  7. When the oil is hot enough, working in batches, place each panada in the oil. It will sizzle immediately.

Pro Tips


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