Pasteles de Masa

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Pasteles de Masa

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For Filling:
2 lbs Pork cubed
1/4 cup recaito
1 beef bouillon cube
1 envelope Sazon sin achiote
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup Water
1/2 cup Spanish olives with pimentos chopped
2 tablespoons capers
1 14.5 oz can garbanzos
For Masa:
2 Plantains peeled
3 Green Bananas peeled
1 1/2 lbs yautia (taro root), peeled
1/2 lb kabocha pumpkin peeled
1/2 cup recaito
2 envelopes Sazon con culantro & achiote
1 tablespoon oregano
1 beef bouillon cube
For Achiote Oil:
6 tablespoons achiote seeds (annatto)
2 cups Vegetable Oil
For Assembly:
1 small jar pimentos
12 - 14 oz banana leaves
pasteles paper or parchment paper
butchers twine
  • Medium


  • For Filling:

  • For Masa:

  • For Achiote Oil:

  • For Assembly:



Pasteles (or “pateles” as Hawaiians pronounce it), are a Puerto Rican Christmas dish adopted by Hawai during the plantation era. Made with pork, beef, or seafood and mixed with green plantain masa, pasteles are wrapped in banana leaves and boiled. Achiote, a deep-red seasoning, is used to add color to the dish and add a sweet, nutty flavor.

How to Make Pasteles de Masa:

Day 1:

How to Make the Filling:

  1. Combine all the filling ingredients in a pressure cooker. Set to cook for 30 minutes.
  2. Let it come back to pressure naturally without releasing it.
  3. Uncover and set to brown/simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Let cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

How to Make the Masa:

  1. Using the fine shredder blade on your food processor or a manual grater to grate the plantain, green bananas, yautia, and pumpkin.
  2. Depending on the size of your food processor, you may have to work in batches.
  3. Change the shredder blade for the chopping blade.
  4. Working in batches, process the shredded vegetables until fine and pasty.
  5. Add the remaining masa ingredients and mix until well combined. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate.

How to Make Achiote Oil:

  1. Heat 1 1/2 – 2 cups of vegetable oil and add 6 tbs of annatto seeds.
  2. Allow the seeds to simmer until the oil becomes a bright red color.
  3. Strain the seeds from the oil and discard.
  4. Allow the oil to cool and store in a sealed container until ready to use.

Day 2:

How to Prep the Banana Leaves:

  1. Remove the ridge from the leaves.
  2. Cut the banana leaves into 12 x 12-inch squares and wash under warm running water.
  3. Working in batches, microwave the banana leaves for 1.5 to 2 minutes, this helps make the leaf more flexible.

How to Assembly:

  1. Set up an assembly station with the masa mixture, filling, achiote oil, banana leaves, paper for pastels, and butchers twine.
  2. Stack the pastels paper and banana leaves, alternating them starting with the pastel paper.
  3. Spread 1 tsp of achiote oil on the banana leaf.
  4. Scoop 1/2 cup of the masa mixture onto the banana leaf and spread out into a rectangle.
  5. Place 2 tablespoons of filling down the center and top with pimentos if you like.
  6. Fold the banana leaf over the filling.
  7. Bring the leaf ends together.
  8. Fold over twice to create a tight seal. T
  9. Tuck the ends under. If the banana leaf splits a little, don’t stress as you are going to fold it again in the paper. Do the same wrap and fold with the paper.
  10. If you use only pastel paper, I recommend double wrapping.
  11. Tie the pastel with butchers twine like a present.
  12. At this point, you can boil them right away or you can freeze them until ready to use.
  13. When ready to cook, bring a large pot of water to a boil, drop in the pasteles, and boil for 45 minutes for fresh and 1 hour for frozen.
  14. They can also be cooked in the pressure cooker for 30 minutes with 1 cup of water.
  15. Using a pair of tongs, pick the pastel out of the water by the string and place on a paper towel.
  16. Cut the string and gently unwrap. Enjoy!


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