For many Puerto Rican families, the quintessential holiday season dish is pasteles, which English-speakers often literally translate to pies. Pasteles are not a sweet pastry or cake, but a soft dough-like mass wrapped in a banana or plantain leaf and boiled. In the center of the dough are choice pieces of chopped meat, shellfish, chicken, raisins, spices, capers, olives, sofrito and often garbanzo beans. Puerto Rican pasteles are similar in shape, size, and cooking technique to Latin American tamales.
About puerto rican pasteles
In Puerto Rico pasteles are a cherished culinary recipe. Puerto Rican pasteles are much more labor intensive than any other. The masa consists of a combination of grated green banana, green plantain, taro, and calabazas (tropical pumpkins), and is seasoned with liquid from the meat mixture, milk, and annatto oil (annatto seeds infused with olive oil).
The meat is prepared as a stew and usually contains any combination of pork shoulder, ham, bacon, raisins, potatos, chickpeas, olives, and capers seasoned with bay leaves, recaito, tomato sauce, adobo seco, and annatto oil. The pork shoulder can also be replaced with boston butt or chicken.