Chicken Tinga Molotes (Oaxacan Masa Empanadas)

Once the prep and pressing is done, try dipping these warm bundles in salsa or sour cream.


  • 6 cups water
  • 4 1⁄2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 can (7 oz.) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 3 large vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 whole clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 large vine-ripened tomato, quartered
  • 1⁄4 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable shortening


  • For the Chicken Tinga: In a large stockpot, over medium to high heat, add water, chicken, 2 tsp. salt, whole clove garlic and quartered onion. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove the chicken from the broth and allow to cool. When the chicken is cool, shred it. Reserve chicken and broth.
  • In a blender, put the boiled onion and garlic clove, the quartered tomato, chipotle peppers including adobo sauce, 2 tsp. salt and enough chicken broth to fill the blender half way. Puree until smooth.
  • Heat the oil in a large and deep pan over medium heat. Once it is hot but not smoking, stir in the chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and chopped garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Add the shredded chicken, the chipotle sauce from the blender, and more chicken broth if it is too dry. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add salt to taste.
  • For the Molote dough: In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the flours and baking powder. Add the shortening and salt and mix well. Add water to give the dough the consistency of soft cookie dough. Divide into 12 balls and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Using a tortilla press, flatten a ball of the dough between sheets of plastic to make a medium-large (5 to 6-inch) tortilla. Remove the top piece of plastic.
  • Brush each mold of the empanada maker with olive oil.
  • Add the tortilla to the empanada maker; add your warm chicken tinga filling on half of the tortilla and fold over to close the molotes. The molotes will be sealed with the empanada maker. Brush the top of each empanada with olive oil.
  • Preheat an empanada maker. Once the green light is on close the lid and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Keep warm in the oven at about 250°F. Best when served warm.