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For the Pork Filling:

  • 2 pounds pork shoulder, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 small sweet peppers, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons recaito (Puerto Rican sofrito sauce)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon adobo seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon ground oregano
  • 1 bay leaf

For the Masa Dough:

  • 4 pounds yautía (malanga), peeled
  • 6 green plantains (or substitute yautía and plantains with yuca)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons recaito
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon achiote oil (or more to reach desired consistency)

For the Wrapping:

  • 1 tablespoon achiote oil
  • Kosher salt, for boiling water

Steps to Make It


Make the Pork Filling

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  1. Brown the diced pork in olive oil in a large nonstick skillet.
  2. Add the sweet peppers, chopped onion, recaito, garlic, adobo, oregano, and bay leaf, stirring well. Cook until the pork is no longer pink inside. Remove the bay leaf from the mixture and set aside to cool.

Make the Masa Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. In a large bowl, grate the peeled yautía and the green plantains (or cleaned and peeled yuca). Use disposable gloves, as uncooked plantains will stain your hands and kitchen towels.
  3. Blend the grated roots in a food processor until creamy.
  4. Place the masa over a cheesecloth or a fine-mesh sieve for at least three hours so the excess moisture drips out.
  5. Once the masa is ready, stir in the garlic, recaito, salt, and enough of the achiote oil to moisten the dough and add a little color. You are now ready to assemble and wrap the pasteles.

Wrap the Pasteles

  1. Prepare a work surface to assemble and wrap the pasteles. If you have friends helping you, set up an assembly line. Prepare 20 (10 x 5-inch) banana leaves, 20 (8 x 4-inch) rectangles of parchment paper, and 20 (18-inch) pieces of kitchen string.
  2. For each pastel, lay out a piece of parchment paper, topped with 1 piece of banana leaf. Brush achiote oil in a rectangular shape on the center of the banana leaf.
  3. Spread 1 1/2 to 2 spoonfuls of masa onto the center of the leaf.
  4. Add 1 spoonful of pork filling and top with another spoonful of masa.
  5. Bring the edges of the banana leaf over the top of the pork filling. Then repeat with the other side of the banana leaf so that the masa completely covers the top of the filling.
  6. Bring the edges of the banana leaf together and fold down over the top.
  7. Fold the edges of the banana leaf underneath the package.
  8. Bring the top and bottom edges of the parchment paper over the top and fold or roll down the edges to make a horizontal seam. Tuck the ends under.
  9. Tie with a string in both directions. At this point, you can freeze any pasteles you are not going to cook and eat right away. Place them in resealable bags, date, label, and freeze.

Cook the Pasteles

  1. Bring a stock pot of salted water to a boil. Place the pasteles in the water, making sure they are submerged. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour.
  2. Using tongs, remove the pasteles from the boiling water and place them on a plate. Carefully cut the string of each with kitchen scissors and very carefully open the banana leaves and parchment paper. Place the pastel on a serving plate.


  • How to Cook Frozen Pasteles: When ready to cook, place the frozen pasteles in a pot of boiling water directly from the freezer. Cook for an hour, until tender. Pasteles keep well in the freezer for up to four months, so always label the freezer bags with the date when they were made.