Trinidad Pastelle is a savory cornmeal pie filled with meat, fish or vegetables. For an alternative vegetarian version, you can use soya. Trini Pastelle is wrapped and steamed in a banana leaf. It is traditionally eaten during the Christmas season.
Trinidad Pastelle is known to have been introduced by the Spanish colonists who ruled Trinidad and Tobago between the late 15th and early 18th centuries. Trini Pastelle is closely related to Tamales, but the main difference is Tamales are made with corn masa only. The sweet version of Trinidad Pastelle is called Trinidad Paime.
This Trinidad pastel recipe requires some special ingredients and tools which we have listed here:
- Fresh banana leaves or use a banana leaf alternative.
- A pastel press or tortilla press
- Aluminum foil
This recipe will show you how to fold the pastelle using the banana leaf alternative and aluminum foil.
- 2kg Minced Chicken (or beef or soya for vegetarian)
- 127g Finely chopped onions
- 53g Finely chopped chives
- 5g Fresh Thyme
- 18g Minced Garlic
- 3g ground Black Pepper
- 29g Salt
- 80g Brown Sugar
- 4g Hot Peppers finely chopped (optional)
- 53g Culantro chopped
- 128g Ketchup
- 2tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 110g Finely Chopped Pimentos
- 50g Capers
- 50g Chopped Olives
- 185g Raisins
- 75g Vegetable Oil
- 3 Fresh Banana leaves or banana leaf alternative
- Season meat with chive, onions, thyme, cilantro, garlic, hot pepper, black pepper, and salt
- Brown the sugar in oil in a pot, add seasoned meat. Add ketchup, Worcestershire Sauce, pimentos, and cook until tender and soft.
- When meat is tender, remove from heat. Mix in capers as well as chopped olives and raisins and set aside.
- In a mixer, melt butter in hot water. Fitted with a paddle, add cornmeal, sugar, pimentos, Maggi, and salt. Run-on slow speed for 2 minutes. You may need to add more hot water to keep the dough soft.
- Make round balls 60g each and cover with plastic or a damp cloth (if necessary, slightly spritz with water to keep moist)
- Cut the aluminum foil into 10" x 10" squares. Grease 2 pieces of foil very well with butter so that the dough does not stick to the foil.
- In a pastelle press, place the dough between the 2 well greased pieces of foil and flatten it. Place one piece of the foil on the table and then place 2 pieces of the banana leaf alternative on top of this foil. The 2 leaves should be side by side. Then place the flattened dough in the center of the 2 leaves. Place 2 tablespoons of filling in the middle of the dough. Now fold over the foil onto itself. Keep folding over the edges as shown in the video.
- Steam for 25 minutes.