- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.FAKOYWxZ.dpuf Simply Rice and Beans: Pasteles

Thursday, November 14, 2013


My sister came to visit me and I had mentioned to her that we should do some Pasteles for the upcoming holidays.  Pasteles are wrapped bananas, and root vegetables stuffed meat pastries, traditionally served during Thanksgiving and Christmas in Puerto Rico.  Some other countries have their own version of them.

We went to a local farmers market, where I usually find everything I need.  Making pasteles reminds me of my mom.  My mom used to make pasteles to sell.  There were times when she made over 1000 pasteles.  Until this day, I'm not sure how she did that, because making pasteles, it's a lot of work.  She at least had the masa machine (batter machine), that made it easier. 

There are many pasteles recipes out there.  This is my way of making them.  You can add or adjust to your liking.  But, let me just say this is a fantastic recipe with great results.  I suggest you make this recipe as it is written.   Make sure to read the recipe before you start.

Meat Ingredients

4-6 pound pork shoulder boneless cut into very small pieces
4 med size potatoes, cut into cubes
1/3 cup of sofrito
1 cup of alcaparrado (pimiento and capers)
2-8 ounce cans tomato sauce
2 Goya chicken bouillon packet
1 Goya sazon with culantro and achiote packet (corriander and annatto)
salt and pepper to taste 

TIP: You can substitute the pork for beef or chicken.

In a pot on medium heat add the pork, add enough water to cover. Let this boil, then add the potatoes, sofrito, capers, tomato sauce, chicken bouillon packet, sazon packet, salt and pepper.  Cook this for about an hour. 

This is how the meat should look.  Make sure to taste it and add more salt if needed.

Ingredients for Masa (batter)

8 green plantains peeled
24 green bananas peeled
3 med size potatoes peeled
1/2 of a small pumpkin, cleaned and peeled
3 med size yautias peeled
2 tbsp achiote/annatto seeds (for color)
1/3 cup of oil
1 cup milk
salt to taste

Other Required Items 

cooking paper or heavy duty aluminum foil
 cooking twine to tie the pasteles

To grind the masa I used the grinder attachment to my Kitchen Aid mixer.  I used the fine grinding plate and the masa came out perfect. If you have one you need to cut the vegetables in small pieces to fit into the grinder attachment. 

If you are using a hand grater.  Make sure NOT to cut the veggies smaller, leave them intact for easier handle.  Grind the plantains, bananas, potatoes, pumpkin and yautia.  

In a small sauce pan  add the annatto seeds and the 1/3 cup of oil.  Simmer for about 20 minutes.  I try to do this before I start grinding the vegetables, just to have it ready.

After you are done grinding/grating the vegetables, add the milk, salt to taste and the annatto oil NOT the seeds.  Mix well to combine.  The masa should have a nice color..not light but no too red. 

This are all of the vegetables you are going to need.  I like to soak the bananas in hot water before peeling.  It helps to loosen up the skin and makes it easier to peel. 

The masa has a nice texture and the color is just perfect.  This is how it should look after you have added all of the ingredients to it.

Time to Put the Pasteles Together

I was not able to find the cooking paper in Atlanta, so I used heavy duty aluminum foil.  Using aluminum foil makes wrapping the pasteles easier.  Cut the aluminum foil into 6-8 inches depending on how big you are making the pasteles.  The same goes if you are using paper.

So start by putting some of the sauce from the meat on the paper/foil. Spread out to cover where you are putting the masa.

On top of the sauce add a big spoon of the masa about 3 tablespoons.  Spread out really good. 

 Now, add the meat. Try to keep the meat in the middle of the masa.

For cooking paper  fold over one half over the other to make top and bottom layers, fold over once more then bring in the right and the left ends towards the center then tie with twine. Make sure to tie the pasteles on all sides. You don't want the pasteles to open when boiling.

For aluminum foil  fold over one half over the other to make top and bottom layers, then start folding the aluminum foil until tight.  Then do the same for the ends.  No need to use twine.

This is how it should look once you are done folding the aluminum foil.  Each end should be folded in until it reaches the masa inside. 

 The final result should look like this.

You can tie them up in bundles of 2 if you like.  We made a total of 56 pasteles.  It depends how big or small you make them. 

To cook the pasteles

In a large pot add the pasteles you want to cook and add enough water to cover them.  Add salt to the water and cook for about an hour on medium heat.  Make sure to turn over the pasteles after 30 minutes of cooking.   Let them cool down a little bit before unwrapping.  Enjoy!!


  1. I will be making these before Christmas. They look delicious.

  2. OMG, these are my favorites.

  3. I grew up eating these as well, specially during the holidays, with some coquito.

  4. Thanks for posting this. My mother has been gone for over 28+ years and I have been trying to figure out how to make these. I love these. Some of my relation sent some to me in a styrofoam container filled with dry ice. I loved her for that but know that it cost her some money to ship. I purchased online for a Puerto Rican store a special blade and a processor to make the masa. Keep fingers it will work or I will just use, as you suggested, my KitchenAid also.

    My biggest problem is to find Yautia which is all called Arrow Root! I will keep looking.

    Thanks again!

    1. My mom has been gone since 2000. I know how you feel. Make these exactly how I posted the recipe, you will love them. They are delicious. Not sure where you live but find a Farmers market in your area, you should be able to find the arrow root. Happy Holidays!!

    2. This is a very good recipe and I compared many. The only thing I would omit is the potatoes in the near.
      I am surprised you had a hard time finding parchment paper .. I thought they sold it everywhere. Well, now I know I can use aluminum if I can't get the paper. ;)

    3. **omit the potatoes in the meat.

    4. This is a great recipe for Pasteles and using aluminum foil is such much easier too.