Through her ‘empanada kaliskis,’ this chef is helping keep a dying Bulacan art alive

There’s a rarer, more sophisticated kind of empanada that hails from Malolos, Bulacan, with the moniker of kaliskis or fish scales. And it’s this elusive empanada that seems to have gained new life during the pandemic. Bulakeña-at-heart, Chef Pixie Rodrigo Sevilla, may have something to do with it.

Empanada kaliskis uses a dough that is layered, somewhat akin to a croissant—although even more tedious in technique, says Sevilla—giving it its fish scale-like exterior and amping its delicate flakiness to balance its rich fillings.

Since the pandemic started, Sevilla took on what may be her biggest challenge yet, the empanada kaliskis. They’re tedious to make, requiring several days of preparation, and involving lots of muscle and sweat.

She involved her daughter Miel in making the empanada. She started by filling and forming the empanadas, then making the dough. Now Miel is in charge of making the chicken and tuna filling, packing and labelling the boxes.

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