The empanada recipe at Manu’s Bodega in Seattle did not come easy to chef and owner Manu Alfau. Unlike most empanadas, the iteration at Manu’s is prepared in a traditional Dominican style known as catibia, meaning it’s made from a dough made of yuca — a highly starchy root native to South America.
In this episode of Cooking in America, host Sheldon Simeon discovers how Alfau’s catibia combines little more than finely grated yuca and garlic. And while there, Simeon also sees the process behind Alfau’s other menu staple: slow-roasted puerco asado, served with a side of rice and beans.
Manu’s Bodega has held steady in Seattle’s Pioneer Square for four years, but it’s been 11 years since Alfau arrived in Seattle, and the Dominican Republic native thinks food has played a major role on the city. “[It] helped it grow and develop to what we see today,” he says.