End of year season in Trinidad is filled with menu MUST HAVES such as pastelles! This amazingly delicious item consists of corn flour and meat…and is usually wrapped in banana/fig leaf and then steamed or boiled.
YIELD: 14 pastelles approx.
- 2 cups Promasa yellow corn flour
- 1/4 lb (4oz) margarine or butter
- Pinch of salt
- 2-3 cups water warm
- 1 lb minced chicken (or any meat)
- 3 tbsp tomato paste or roucou
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Capers (as much as you like)
- Olives (as much as you like)
- Raisins (as much as you like)
- green seasoning (as much as you like)
- Hot pepper (as you like)
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- Vegetable oil
- Foil or Banana Leaves
- Season meat with salt, black pepper and green seasoning. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a pan. Add seasoned meat and tomato paste/roucou. Cook on low/medium heat until meat is properly cooked through. Mix in raisins, olives and capers. Taste and adjust salt, pepper and green seasoning to your liking.
- While the meat is cooking, combine salt, butter and cornflour/cornmeal in a bowl. Use your fingers to break the butter into small pieces and mix in well with the cornflour.
- Add 2 cups of water to the mixture and mix until the water has been all absorbed. The dough should not be dry. Add more water if needed. Cover with a cloth until ready to use.
- Place banana leaf or foil on the counter. Using your hands, roll a small amount (this will depend on what size you want your pastelles to be) of the cornflour dough into a smooth ball. Dip it in some vegetable oil then place on the leaf/foil.
- Cover with another leaf then place a bowl on it and press down. This step is necessary to flatten the cornflour dough as much as possible. If you have a pastelle press use it in this step. If using foil, you can use another greased piece of foil or flatten with your fingers.
- Place 2 tbsp of the meat in the middle, then fold each side of the leaf/foil to ‘close’ the pastelle and ensure all the meat filling is in the ‘dough’. See video for demo. Secure with cotton string if using banana leaves. If using foil, no string is needed.
- Steam or boil for 20 minutes roughly.
- Time to enjoy your pastelle.
NOTE: The banana leaves were purchased frozen at the supermarket which made things super easy!
Check out the video using banana leaves here:
Check out the video using foil here: