Puerto Rican Pasteles


1 lb lean pork loin, coarsely chopped
1/2 lb boneless ham, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, minced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and minced
2 roasted red peppers, minced
1 tbs cilantro, minced
1 tsp oregano
2 tbs capers
18 small pitted green olives
1/2 cup raisins
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup caned chick peas, drained
1/2 cup almonds, slivered
1/4 cup lard mixed with 1 tbs of achiote (achiote available at Latin markets)
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tsp hot pepper sauce
For the Dough:
3 green plantains
1 and 1/2 lbs taro root
1/2 cup lard mixed with 1 tbs achiote
kosher salt
milk or stock
Pasteles are seamed meat patties that are very popular in Puerto Rico, especially during the Christmas season. They resemble the tamales of Mexico and the hallacas of Venezuela.


  • Mix all the ingredients together and set aside until ready to fill the Pasteles.
  • Some cooks simmer the mixture for 30 minutes, others cook it for 1 hour.
  • Still others prefer it left raw feeling the flavor it better the mixture cooks in the dough.
  • We recommend that you experiment with several methods.
Dough Directions:
  • Peel the plantains and taro and grate on the coarse side of a grater. Add to a food  process  along with the achiote and lard and process, adding enough milk to make a spreadable paste
  • Traditionally Pasteles are wrapped in plantain leaves, however these are difficult to get state side. But it worth trying you local Asian or Latin markets where many stock frozen banana leaves.
  • Prepare 18 pieces of banana leaves cut into 10×8 inch rectangles. Grease lightly with butter or oil.
  • Spread a thin layer, 4×6 inches of the masa on to each piece , patting with the fingers to make the layer smooth and fairly thin.
  • Place 3 tbs of the filling a little to one side of the center of the masa.
  • Fold the banana leaf in half so that the filling is covered by the dough.
  • Fold the banana leaf back towards the center, then fold the ends toward the middle to make a neat package.
  • Repeat the process with the remaining banana leaf’s.
  • Tie the Pasteles in pairs with the folded sides inside, and tie securely with kitchen string.
  • Have ready a large pot filled with boiling water.
  • Lower the Pasteles into it and bring back to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer f0r 1 hour, turning once during the cooking period.
  • Drain, remove the strings and serve the Pasteles in their wrappings on warm plates.




25 min


1 hr



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