BronxMama Holiday Recipe

By Amy Vega Guobadia

Here’s a recipe famous in Puerto Rican households during the holiday. As far as I can remember my grandma made Pasteles for every winter holiday. Unfortunately, my grandma took her recipe with her to Puerto Rico eight years ago. After a few years of not having this traditional food, I searched the internet for the recipe. The first two attempts, I got the recipes from different sites and they didn’t taste right. I adjusted the recipe and it was great. The third time was a charm. I always make a test batch. I adjust the ingredients for that perfect savory taste. Here’s the recipe:

There are two products that go into a pastels; the masa (dough) and the filling.

Ingredients for masa:

6 green bananas, peeled and shredded

2 green plantain, peeled and shredded

1 medium sized yuca, shredded

1 russet potato, peeled and shredded

salt, to taste

1/4 cup milk

Ingredients for filling:

1 onion, diced

1 green pepper, diced

12 oz jar of sweet pepper, diced

1 tomato, diced

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and diced

4 oz can of tomato sauce

1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup water

2 lbs of pork butt or shoulder, cut into small cubes

2 tablespoons oil

salt & pepper, to taste

oregano, to taste

For Assembly:

Parchment paper, 30 sheets. 2 sheets per pastel

kitchen string, about 36 inches per pastel

achicote oil, 1/4 cup

30 olives, 2 per pastel


1- As you shred the ingredients for the masa place into a large bowl of water and salt so it doesn’t turn brown.

2- Drain the water and puree ingredients in 1 cup batches in blender. Add a little milk to masa to smooth mixture. It should look like hot oatmeal. Chill in frig while you make the filling.


1- Heat oil in a large saucepan or pot. Add the filling and simmer for 20 minutes. Allow to cool.


Gather the masa, filling and assembly stuff on a large enough area.

1. Layer two sheets of parchment paper. Brush the center of top parchment paper with achiote.

2- Scoop up about 1/2 cup of masa place on the achiote part of the parchment paper.

3- Scoop about 2-3 tablespoons of filling in the masa. Place olives in masa.

4- Fold the top of the paper over the pastels. Flip over and fold end over. Repeat with second sheet.

5- Tie kitchen string around it like a package.

6- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Gently boil for 1 hour. Remove string and paper. Serves 12- 15.

Goes great with rice and chick peas. Enjoy!

For step by step picture directions visit my blog at

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1 Comment

  1. I have been looking for this exact recipie for years. When I was a young boy my friends mother and her duaghters use to make these once a year when I was growing up in the Projects in the Rockaways.
    Thank You for posting the recipie that I remember as a child.
    Joe G


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