1/2cupchopped chaya leaves, (may substitute spinach or watercress)
1teaspoonkosher or coarse sea salt
4cupsgrated Dutch edam cheese, (may substitute Gouda or Muenster)
Vegetable oil for frying
Salsa roja, of your choice, warmed, optional
In a large bowl, combine the masa, chaya, and salt by kneading with your hands.
Pinch off a large, golf-ball sized piece of masa and roll it into a ball, then gently flatten with your palms. Place the flattened masa on a piece of plastic wrap and use your fingers to press it into a flat round tortilla about 1/8" thick (alternatively, use a tortilla press). Repeat until all of the remaining masa has been used up.
Place 1/2 cup of the grated cheese on one side of the masa round, then fold over to make a half-moon shape. Press around the edges with your fingers to close, using the plastic to help you out. Repeat with all the masa rounds.
In a large casserole or heavy bottomed pan, heat ½” of oil to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don't have a fry thermometer, test by dropping a small ball of masa in the oil; if the oil actively bubbles around it, it's ready.
Working in batches, fry the empanadas in the oil until crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Place the fried empanadas on a paper towel lined plate to drain off the excess oil. You may serve them with a side of warm salsa roja or salsa of your choice.