Puerto Rican Pasteles

8 Nov

In this book you will find 7 different recipes of the famous pasteles which we make in Puerto Rico for the Christmas holidays. They are delicious and we cannot do without them in these important celebrations. Among these recipes there are those prepared from green bananas, green plantains, and cassava, which are the most traditionally used, but also the historical Taíno Guanimes. These are simple easy to follow step by step instructions. I know you will love them and will want to make and taste them all.



The pasteles are one of the complements most used in our homes of Puerto Rico and The Caribbean during the Christmas holidays, starting on Thanksgiving Day. During the celebrations our home menus cannot do without green banana, plantain or cassava pasteles. They are a legacy from puerto rican indigenous origin thousands of years ago, the Taínos. In fact, yuca and yautía are Taíno words. Maíz (corn) derives from the Taíno word maisi. The Taíno word for pasteles made from corn is guanime. There is a type of pasteles (Mexican tamales) that can be traced back as early as 5000 BC. The Pasteles are a food consisting of boiled or steam-cooked dough with a filling. Pasteles can be filled with meats, cod or sardines, vegetables or really any preparation according to your likes. Today, pasteles are wrapped in plantain leaves and parchment paper before cooking. In Boriken, which is the ancient name of Puerto Rico, there were at least three more original pasteles: one made from corn, one from cassava, and another from yautía. While you’re enjoying one of our original Taíno’s comfort foods, please keep in mind and share that by eating pasteles you are actually continuing an indigenous tradition thousands of years in the making.

Best of all is that in the culinary art there are many ways to prepare the pasteles and each recipe has a different flavor. Green banana pasteles are the most common. In this book you will find a variety of them to enjoy with your family and friends. The process is a little long, but you can prepare them in advance and store them in your freezer for use during the season. These are simple and very easy to follow step by step instructions. You can serve a pastel with different recipes of rice, such as rice with pigeon peas, rice with onions, greek rice, white rice, pilaf or any other of your favorite complements. We serve them with rice and pigeon peas, potato or elbows pasta salad, pickled green bananas, roasted pork shoulder or turkey, black pork sausages (“morcillas”), with coquito (coconut) punch or a glass of red wine. And, to finish, a delicious dessert like coconut pudding, sweet rice & raisin pudding, corn pudding, cheese or vanilla flan or three milks cake. You’ll be glad to try these recipes for family members and friends for the season or any time during the year because the ingredients are always available.

Step #1: The Leaves Preparation

This procedure must be done the day before the preparation of the pasteles.
You need cut leaves of a plantain or banana plant.
Must be as healthy as possible, handle the leaves with extreme care to avoid breaking them.

The amount of leaves will be according to the amount of pasteles you have planned on making, and the wrapping method.

Wrapping Method #1:

If you are going to use leaves only to wrap them, you must average out on basis of 12″x12″ pieces, one for each pastel. A plant’s large leaf with both sides in good condition will produce approximately 5 or 6 pasteles.

Wrapping Method #2:

If you are going to use parchment paper combined with smaller pieces of banana or plantain leaves to cover the pasteles dough (with the purpose of giving them that special flavor the green leaves add), you should average out on basis of 6″x 7″ pieces, one for each pastel.

This recipe makes from 35 to 40 pasteles, approximately. Which indicates that you will need 8 or 9 large leaves for Method #1. For Method #2 you will need 5 or 6 large leaves.

With a knife or scissors, and because the leaves can break easily, very carefully cut the stem of the center of the leaves to give them greater flexibility and take advantage of both sides of the leaves.




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