Pasteles – Yummy :)

Pasteles are a traditional dish in many Latin American countries and are made in a diversity of ways. In the Caribbean the Pasteles is similar to tamales. Traditionally, the dish is made with seasoned rice that is left in the sun to air, called orear. The rice is combined with many ingredients like chicken or beef, garbanzos, raisins, olives, pickled vegetables or potatoes. The rice is then wrapped two times; in a cabbage leaf and then a banana leaf. Fig leaves are also used.
Pasteless are also a classic Caribbean dinner on Christmas Eve. It is most often served with many other festive dishes like roast pork with rice and beans, salt cod fritters, fried plantains with garlic sauce, coconut lime rice and various salads.
Makes 12-15 Pasteless

Prep 15 min
Cook time 1 hour 5 min
Total time 1 hour 20 min

• 1 1/2 lb. beef or pork, diced
• 2 onions, chopped fine
• 2 scallions, chopped
• 2 tablespoons fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried
• 1/2 habanero or scotch bonnet pepper
• 2 pimento peppers, chopped
• 2-4 cloves garlic, minced (to taste)
• 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon salt
• ¼ cup tomato sauce (or ketchup if desired)
• 1 teaspoon Worcester sauce, optional
• 3 tablespoons capers (optional)
• 2 tablespoons green olives, chopped
• 1/4 – ½ cup raisins, to taste
• Olive oil for cooking
Cornmeal Dough
• 2 cups yellow cornmeal
• 3 cups hot water
• 4 tablespoons butter
• 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
• Banana leaves for wrapping, cabbage or fig leaves can also be used.
• 2 tablespoons oil for brushing the leaves

Pasteles Preparation
1. Rub meat with salt and black pepper. Add scallions and one half of the thyme. Set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan. Stir in onions and garlic. Sauté the mixture until fragrant.
3. Mix in the pimento peppers, hot peppers and remaining thyme.
4. Add meat. Cook until browned. Mix in tomato sauce. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until done.
5. Stir in raisins, capers and olives. Mix well.
6. Cook for about 5 minutes longer. Taste, adjust seasoning.
7. Add more fresh thyme if desired.
8. Remove from heat. Cool.


1. In a food processor or by hand, mix cornmeal with butter and salt.
2. Stir in water. Mix to make a soft and pliable dough.
3. Divide the dough into 12 equal sized balls. To prevent drying, Cover with a damp cloth.


1. Place one piece of dough on a greased leaf (fig, banana or cabbage). Press the dough into an eight-inch square.
2. Spoon two tablespoons of filling onto the center of the dough. Fold and seal Pasteless.
3. Wrap the sealed Pasteles in fig leaf. Tie into a package. Tin foil can also be used, if desired.
4. Steam Pasteles for 45 minutes or until done.

1. If you have problems with the cornmeal coming together, make sure to use hot water otherwise the cornmeal will not swell satisfactorily. Masa harina is a good choice for cornmeal. You can also use ready-made masa dough if you have trouble finding a good cornmeal.
Best Cookware to Use
Large sauté pan
Food processor