Pasteles de Yucca

I disappeared…fell off the face of the earth…drowned in the everyday hussel and bussel.

I am sorry! Pulling doubles at school to make up for a class and starting my externship put quite the wrench in my schedule. In an effort to extend my deepest apologies and in the spirit of the Christmas season I thought I would show you to make pasteles.   If you know what pasteles are you are dancing in your seat.  If you don’t know, the best way that I can describe them is the Puerto Rican version of the tamale.  Except it’s made with yucca instead of corn meal, wrapped in banana leaves instead of a corn husk and boiled instead of steamed.

Every Puerto Rican table has a spread of pasteles on the table at Christmas time .

Pasteles

I cannot tell a lie, pasteles are a project so a lot of times people will buy them by the dozen from someone who makes them.   However being out in Oklahoma it is difficult to find someone who makes and sells pasteles, besides it’s more fun to make them yourself.  If you decided to take on this endeavor it is best if done with some helping hands or spread out through two or three days.

There are two versions of pasteles, one is made with a mixture of plantain and yautia (malanga) and the other is made with yucca root.  My favorite is yucca root so that is what I am going to show you today.

I found my yucca at the local Asian market but many super markets also carry it now.  It is a long narrow root with a bark like and waxy skin.

Pasteles

I have seen many people take a vegetable peeler to yucca root, which can take forever.   Luckily enough my mother-in-law taught me a easier and more effective way to peel yucca.  Cut the yucca into 3-4 pieces. The yucca should be milky white, if it has dark lines it’s no bueno.

If you look at the edge of the yucca you will you will see a sort of rim between the yucca and it’s skin.  I have pointed it out here with a handy dandy arrow.

Pasteles

Score the skin, slip the knife under the skin and pry the it away from the yucca.

Pasteles

Tada!  You peeled a yucca root in no time.

Pasteles

Cut the segments in half and expose a small root that runs down the middle of the yucca.

Pasteles

Make a V shaped cut around the root to remove it.  Like you would core a pear.

Pasteles

If you are smarter then I, which I am sure all of you are, you will have all of the attachements of your food processor in an easy to find spot and therefore have your shredder blade and rod on hand.  If you are like me you have no idea where they are use  a mandolin or a box grater to grate the yucca.  Using the food processors grater is the preferable method.

Pasteles

Place the grated yucca root into the food processor using the blade, run the food processor until it’s fine and pasty.

Pasteles

Place the yucca paste in a colander lined with cheese cloth, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight to drain.

Pasteles

Next made some achiote oil.  This gives the pastel and great color and flavor.  I also found these annato seeds in the Asian market, be sure that you get seed and not powder.

Pasteles

Heat 1 1/2 – 2 cups of vegetable oil, add 6 tbs of annatto seeds to the oil. Allow the seeds to simmer until the oil reaches a bright red color.

Pasteles

Strain the seeds from the oil and discard the seeds.  Allow the oil to cool and store in a sealed container until ready to use.

Pasteles

Now for the filling.  Yummy, yummy filling.

You could use any protein that you like as a filling but the most traditional is pork.

Pasteles

Break a boneless pork shoulder down into 1/2 inch cubes.

Pasteles

Season with garlic powder, oregano, onion powder and salt.

Pasteles

In a large skillet heat 1/4 cup of achiote oil and 4 tablespoons of sofrito on low heat for 5 minutes.

Pasteles

Add pork, beef broth cube and 1 cup of water to the skillet.

Pasteles

Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cover, for 30 minutes.

Pasteles

Add garbanzo beans, rasins and olives to the skillet, cover and simmer and additional 15-20 minutes.

Pasteles

The meat should finish tender but not falling apart and with a saucy gravy.  If the sauce is too watery uncover and bring to a boil to reduce.  Drizzle with two tablespoons of olive oil and combine. Set aside and try your best not to eat it all.

Pasteles

Ok now time to go back to the grated yucca in the fridge. But first we have to make the seasoning or “adobo” .

In a skillet simmer 1/4 cup of achiote oil and 3/4 cup of sofrito for 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of water, a beef broth cube, salt, onion powder, garlic powder and oregano, simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

Pasteles

Add the seasoning to the grated yucca, mix until combined.

Pasteles

Drizzle 1/2 cup of achiote oil into the yucca.

Pasteles

Mix together until well combined and the yucca has an orange color, set aside until ready to use.

Pasteles

Now time to prep the banana leaves….are you tired yet?

Banana leaves maybe the hardest things to find.  I found mine…you guessed it at the Asian market.    I really lucked out to find them fresh but I have also seen them frozen. I found them in 4 oz packages and I bought 3 packages. If you cannot find banana leaves you can also use wax paper.

Pasteles

Remove the ridge from the leaves.  Cut the banana leaves into 12 x 12 inch squares and wash the banana leaves under warm running water .    Place them in a hot oven for 5 minutes or toast them over an open flame, this helps make the leaf more flexible.

Pasteles

Now it’s finally time for assembly.  Get everything together, you’ll need the yucca mixture, filling, achiote oil, banana leaves, wax papper squares and butchers twine.

Pasteles

Lay out a square of wax papper and a square of banana leave over it, spread 1 tsp of achiote oil on the banana leaf.

Pasteles

Scoop 1/4 cup of the yucca mixture on to the banana leave and spread out into a square.

Pasteles

Place 2 tbs of filling down the center and top with pimentos if you like.

Pasteles

Using the banana leaf fold the yucca over the filling.

Pasteles

Bring the leaf ends together.

Pasteles

Fold over twice to create a tight seal.

Pasteles

Tuck the ends under, if the banana leaf splits a little don’t stress we are going to fold it again in wax paper.

Pasteles

Do the same wrap and fold with the wax paper.  If you use only wax papper I recommend double wrapping.

Pasteles

Tie two pasteles together with butchers twine like a present with the folded ends facing each other.  At this point you can get ready to boil them right away or you can freeze them until ready to use.  They hold well after the Christmas season and make a easy dinner option.

Pasteles

When ready to cook bring a large pot of water to a boil, drop in pasteles and boil for 45 minutes for fresh and 1 hour for frozen.

Pasteles

Using a pair of tongs pick the pastel out of the water by the string and place on a paper towel.

Pasteles

Cut the string and gently unwrap to reveal a delicious Christmas treat.

Pasteles

It is best to divide this project up over 2 days.  You can do this one of two ways.  You can choose to make the yucca and the achiote on day one and the filling and assembly on day two or you can do everything on day one and assembly on day two.  I prefer the second option but what ever makes you happy.

I know this post is coming a little late but there is still just enough time to squeeze in some pasteles time.  Different things mean Christmas to different people. For me pasteles are a big part of Christmas, taking me back to my warm little island with family, friends and a spread of pernil and arroz con gandules.

Feliz Navidad everyone!

 

Pasteles de Yucca
 
Serves: 10 - 12
Ingredients
MASA(dough):
  • 3½ - 4 pounds of yucca (also known as cassava)
  • ½ cup of sofrito
  • 1 small beef broth cube
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • 2 oz of water
ACHIOTE:
  • 6 Tbsp achiote seeds (annato)
  • 2 cups of vegetable oil
FILLING:
  • 2 lbs boneless pork shoulder
  • 2 oz of sofrito (4 tbs)
  • 1 beef broth cube
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • 2 oz of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup spanish olives cut in half
  • 2 Tbsp capers
  • 1 14.5 oz can of garbanzos
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 small jar of pimentos
  • Equipment: 12 - 14 oz of banana leaves, wax paper & butchers twine
Instructions
MASA (day 1)
  1. Cut the yucca into 3-4 pieces. The yucca should be milky white, if it has dark lines it's no bueno.
  2. Score the skin, slip the knife under the skin and pry the it away from the yucca.
  3. Cut the segments in half and expose a small root that runs down the middle of the yucca. Make a V shaped cut around the root to remove it. Like you would core a pear.
  4. Using the shredder blade on you food processor or a manual grater, grate the yucca. Place the grated yucca root into the food processor using the blade, run the food processor until the yucca fine and pasty.
  5. Place the yucca paste in a colander lined with cheese cloth, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight to drain.
ACHIOTE OIL (day 1)
  1. Heat 1½ - 2 cups of vegetable oil, add 6 tbs of annatto seeds to the oil. Allow the seeds to simmer until the oil reaches a bright red color.
  2. Strain the seeds from the oil and discard the seeds. Allow the oil to cool and store in a sealed container until ready to use.
FILLING (day 1 or 2)
  1. Break a boneless pork shoulder down into ½ inch cubes. Season with garlic powder, oregano, onion powder and salt.
  2. In a large skillet heat ¼ cup of achiote oil and 4 tablespoons of sofrito on low heat for 5 minutes. Add pork, beef broth cube and 1 cup of water to the skillet. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cover, for 30 minutes. Add garbanzo beans, raisins, capers and olives to the skillet, cover and simmer and additional 15-20 minutes.
  3. The meat should finish tender but not falling apart and with a saucy gravy. If the sauce is too watery uncover and bring to a boil to reduce. Drizzle with two tablespoons of olive oil and combine.
SEASON MASA (day 2)
  1. In a skillet simmer ¼ cup of achiote oil and ¾ cup of sofrito for 5 minutes. Add ¼ cup of water, a beef broth cube, salt, onion powder, garlic powder and oregano, simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Add the seasoning to the grated yucca, mix until combined.
  2. Drizzle ½ cup of achiote oil into the yucca. Mix together until well combined and the yucca has an orange color, set aside until ready to use.
PREP BANANA LEAVES (day 2)
  1. Remove the ridge from the leaves. Cut the banana leaves into 12 x 12 inch squares and wash the banana leaves under warm running water. Place them in a hot oven for 5 minutes or toast them over an open flame, this helps make the leaf more flexible.
ASSEMBLY (day 2)
  1. Set up assembly station with yucca mixture, filling, achiote oil, banana leaves, wax papper squares and butchers twine.
  2. Lay out a square of wax papper and a square of banana leave over it, spread 1 tsp of achiote oil on the banana leaf. Scoop ¼ cup of the yucca mixture on to the banana leave and spread out into a square.
  3. Place 2 tbs of filling down the center and top with pimentos if you like. Using the banana leaf fold the yucca over the filling.
  4. Bring the leaf ends together. Fold over twice to create a tight seal. Tuck the ends under, if the banana leaf splits a little don't stress we are going to fold it again in wax paper. Do the same wrap and fold with the wax paper. If you use only wax papper I recommend double wrapping.
  5. Tie two pasteles together with butchers twine like a present with the folded ends facing each other.
  6. At this point you can get ready to boil them right away or you can freeze them until ready to use. When ready to cook bring a large pot of water to a boil, drop in pasteles and boil for 45 minutes for fresh and 1 hour for frozen.
  7. Using a pair of tongs pick the pastel out of the water by the string and place on a paper towel. Cut the string and gently unwrap.
Notes
t is best to divide this project up over 2 days. You can do this one of two ways. You can choose to make the yucca and the achiote on day one and the filling and assembly on day two or you can do everything on day one and assembly on day two. I prefer the second option but what ever makes you happy.

If you want to make "Pasteles de Masa", which are made with plantians and yautia, substitute the yucca with 2½ lbs of yautia and 1½ lbs of plantains.  

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Rose says

    Hi, your pasteles look awesome. My favorite are the yucca ones and I decided to make them myself for the first time. They came out great and now people are asking me if I’m selling them. If I do, how much should I sell them for? My cousin sells them for $42 a dozen. That’s too much! What would be a reasonable price for a dozen?

    Thanks.

  2. says

    Hi, I’m a writer based out of Oldenzaal, Netherlands and I discovered your site via http://thenoshery.com/2011/12/20/pasteles-de-yucca/. Do you have any suggestions for up-and-coming writers? I’m hope to start
    my own site very soon but I’m a bit lost on everything. Do you believe I should start out with a free site like Pixie or shell out some money into a pay site? I’m confronted with
    quite a few options and it’s all so intimidating… What would you say?

  3. THE SELF-TAUGHT COOK/TAMMY says

    This post made me soooo hungry! I’ve only made pasteles once, and that was with the help of my mother-in-law. It’s about time to pay Mami a visit! :)

  4. says

    I made a batch of pasteles de platano, today, I am making de yucca…I used your recipe to support what I already have, looks and smells great. However, I would NOT wrap the pasteles in wax paper, instead, please use parchment, or even aluminum foil. Also, there are TWO kinds of yucca, one which is milky white and the other is striped…so it’s ok to use it… the only time it’s NOT ok is when the yucca is mushy, (that’s why they dip it in wax to fight the mold that grows easily on them)…other than that, your pictures are fantastic…Happy New Year

  5. LuLu says

    I’m making these right now. Wow….the smell alone is making me hungry. Thanks for posting. I found another recipe last year that used bananas and plantains for the masa and the pasteles were not tasty at all. These are going to be fantastic!

  6. ruth says

    Thanks for that excellent recipe! its very clear and to the point!! i will be making the yucca ones for the first time. again, GRACIAS!!
    FELIZ ANO NUEVO !!!!!!!

  7. Ivan Marrero says

    I made these a week ago to have on Christmas day and they were amazing. Thanks for the step by step instructions. It gave me the courage and confidence needed to make them. I’ll definitely make it a Christmas tradition. Thank you!!

  8. Ila says

    Thanks for this exceelent recipe!!!WOW, the pasteles (3-day affair for 40 pasteles) were mind-blowing. We tasted one each today. Better than the yautia and plantain ones. The texture, color and taste of the dough was wonderful, biting through into the pork and pimento….mmmm. And the banana leaves gave off a heavenly aroma.

    The only thing we had to make do with was annato powder since we could not find the seeds. Straining those was more difficult. Also we used a beef reduction instead of bouillon. Can’t wait to eat them for family dinner tomorrow.

    I also used your sofrito recipe for the pasteles and tomorrow, I will use your arroz con gandules recipe too. I know for sure that your recipes turn out fabulous.

  9. lisa says

    this is right on…i am making the pasteles this year for the first time on my own and I am making them with the other masa but I like your recipe for the filling and i will put the red pepper on top too. awesome post!

  10. Saurie says

    This recipe was very clear and simpler than most out there. I tweaked it a little just bacause of taste preference. Over all amounts of each ingredient just goes perfect. I made them for the first time and they turned out perfect. Thank you for posting this recipe.

  11. says

    Have you ever tasted pasteles de yuca filled with crab? They are fabulous. From Loiza to Culebra, they fill them with jueyes and some call them empanadas de yuca. I’ve tasted the ones in Loiza which have been baked in a hole in the ground filled with wood carbon. OMG, they are wonderful.

    • Boricuaz says

      Rosalind, where in Loiza? I’m taking a trip to la isla this coming Christmas, I will be staying in the Fajardo area, so will be hitting up los kioskitos de Luquillo. I cannot wait! I miss me my Puerto Rican food, haven’t been back for about 3 years.

      • says

        Boricuaz,
        I’ll get you the name of a good restaurant in the Loiza area that sells those. Since you’ll be in the Fajardo area, you should check out the fresh fish meals at the local restaurants in Las Croabas and don’t forget the arepas. Also, take the day tour on one of the catamarans to Icacos. It’s well worth the money.

        • Boricuaz says

          Oh yes Las Croabas, I had an excellent mofongo with langosta over there. I will check out the catamarans, thanks very much

  12. says

    Just stumbled onto your blog, and I’m so excited! My dad was Puerto Rican and I did not appreciate the food until now that he’s gone. Really pumped to try some of these recipes – this one looks so good :) THANK YOU!

  13. David says

    Great job with this recipe, I was looking for something like this. I like to eat my pasteles with white rice and a bit of ketchup. Thank you.

  14. Yvonne says

    Thank you for such concise instructions! My forte is tamales, but I’ve helped my mother in law make these and have never ventured into making them by myself. I think I will try…

  15. MimsMom says

    this looks so good! I’ve never had pasteles de yuca; my mom only made the yautia/green banana ones. She’s 92 now and can’t make them anymore. How I miss the wonderful smells in her apartment on Christmas holidays.

  16. Boricuaz says

    Thanks for the great receta, Yucca pasteles are the best, I would like to request a sofrito recipe from you. I’m not so fond of the bottled kind, I use 2 green bell peppers, 2 onions and a a whole rubberbanded bunch of cilantro or cilantrillo as it’s called in Puerto Rico. I can never find culantro here where I live. Do you add anything to this? Mine is really good but needs a little oomph. Anyways take care, hope you come back soon

    • says

      Hi. If you can’t find recao, or culantro, where you live you might try an asian store, one that sells Vietnamese products. They use recao as well and so they usually have fresh ones on hand. My sofrito recipe is very simple: 6 green peppers, 1/2 onions, 1 head fresh garlic, 15 recao leaves, 15 sprigs of cilantro, 15 ajies dulces, and 1 tablespoon dried oregano(not Italian oregano but what we use in PR. It’s called Mexican oregano in the States) I put it all in a food processor until it’s no longer chunky then pour it into ice cube trays, cover with plastic wrap and freeze it. Once frozen, I pop them out and store them in an airtight container like Lock & Locks. Whenever I need it, just take out the amount of cubes I need. Each cube is about 2 tblsp. of sofrito. Hope this helps.

      • Boricuaz says

        Rosalind thanks for your reply, so sorry but I just saw this, they have opened up a nice big asian market by my house, I found recao but I’m going to request the ajies dulces, Take care

  17. Odette says

    Hello again! While looking at your instructions to the making & packing of PASTELES, in comparison to others I’ve looked up online before I knew of your site, YOURS ARE THE BEST! Thank you for your excellent instructions. You should be on the foodnetwork! I know you’d win on CHOPPED! Thanks again.

  18. Gloria says

    I’ve been wanting to learn to prepare pasteles for two years. Still everybody who knows how to prepare them are always telling what a hassle it is. Now I’m just going to print this step by step post and I’m preparing this for mothers day (I already bought the ones for x-mas) Thanks so much for posting this.

  19. says

    Heck, I just learned to make tamales last year and now you are upping the ante to these jewels? I have some highly seasoned pork that I smoked with a green chile rub that would go great in these.

  20. Anton says

    Thank you for the wonderful recipe and overview! One detail that concerns me regards the wax paper. Shouldn’t it be parchment paper, instead? Won’t the wax melt when boiled?

    Regardless I am gathering ingredients for next week – ¡Feliz navidad!

  21. says

    Yeah! You’re back! I think I’ll just come over to your house for some pasteles. Can you even imagine what would happen if I tried to make them? Let’s not.

  22. Lily says

    Thank you so,so much for taking the time to share this recipe. I have been looking for over 2 weeks for a good traditional pasteles recipe like my grandmother use to make. Thank you so much for not just the recipe but the illustrations also..they are very helpful.
    Can you please let me know how many pasteles this recipe is suppose to yeild?
    Do you have a recipe for the other type ,made with the green bananas and green plaintain.?
    Wishing you a really great holiday filled with good friends,good times,laughter and lots of love. May the New Year bring you much success. Feliz Navidad!!

  23. Mariceli says

    Welcome back! Gracias por la receta, hace tiempo queria hacer pasteles de yuca pero
    no estaba muy segura de como manejar la yuca. Aqui en Florida se consigue la yuca ya rallada y congelada. Se puede usar esa ? O recomiendas la yuca fresca

    Mariceli

  24. Erika says

    Thank you!!! I have been waiting for this receipe from your website. I love the way you blog and show the pictures. Good luck with your school and your externship!!!and Feliz Navidad y un Prospero Año Nuevo. Till Next Year!!!!

  25. says

    Wow! Esto está bien chévere! Me encantó tu receta y tu blog. Yo soy de Puerto Rico, así que esto suena a navidades para mi también. Que tengas un buen día.

  26. says

    I love this recipe. I may try this next year and will try to break up the recipe into 5 days instead. My mami makes pasteles and they are awesome.

    For the platano recipe, what is the ratio of platanos to malanga. Is it one to one?
    Thanks!

  27. Odette says

    Those pastels look delicious! I love yuca! They are definitely a lot of work but well worth the labor! Luckily I just received a care package from an aunt in Puerto Rico and my pasteles de guineo & yautia are boiling right now!! Yum!

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