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Puerto Rican Pasteles


Pasteles are a traditional dish in several Latin American countries, similar to tamales. Though they can be made many different ways, this recipe is super delicious and simple.

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  • 6 1/2 pounds pork butt or boneless chicken thighs
  • 5 cups achoite oil
  • 2 1/2 cups onion, chopped
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 15 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups Chinese parsley, chopped
  • 5 (7-ounce) jars diced pimientos
  • 5 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
  • 8 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 12 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 20 Hawaiian chili peppers, seeded or 3 3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes or 1 1/2 teaspoons ground red pepper
  • 100 medium-sized Chinese green bananas
  • 5 pounds potatoes
  • 200 Hawaiian ti leaves (If unavailable use 200 12x12-inch squares of aluminum foil)
  • 3 (16-ounce) cans pitted olives, drained


Servings 100
Preparation time 15mins
Cooking time 140mins


Step 1

Chop pork or chicken into small pieces. In saucepan, heat 15 tablespoons of achoite oil; brown pork or chicken. Add onion, garlic, green onions, parsley, pimiento, and oregano. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce, and 7 1/2 teaspoon salt and red peppers. Cook over low heat for 1 hour. Cool.

Soak bananas in hot water for 10 minutes. Peel bananas and potatoes; grate finely.

Combine bananas, potatoes, 15 tablespoons achoite oil, and remaining 5 teaspoons salt. Lay 2 ti leaves overlapping lengthwise (or foil squares).

To make each pastele, spread about 1/2 teaspoon remaining oil on ti leaves (or foil squares). Spread 1/3 cup banana mixture over oil forming about a 9x6 inch rectangle. Put 1/4 cup meat mixture in center of banana mixture. Place 2 olives on meat/banana mixture.

With knife, fold banana mixture over meat mixture on all sides to cover meat mixture. Carefully fold and wrap ti leaves (or aluminum foil squares wrapped drugstore style) into rectangle. Tie with sturdy string such as crochet thread.

Repeat until all ti leaves (or foil squares) are used.

Place in large sauce pot; add salted water to cover. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer and cook for 1 hour.


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