Trinidad Cornmeal Pastelle: A Traditional Island Delight

Pastelle, a local favorite brings out the sophistication of any local dish, is enjoyed by all. This delicious dish has a long-standing history in the Caribbean region and is often a staple during the holiday season. With its unique combination of ingredients, including seasoned meat or fish, aromatic herbs and spices, wrapped in a cornmeal dough and steamed to perfection, it’s no wonder that pastelle is a highly sought-after delicacy.

The preparation of a pastelle dish requires a delicate balance of flavors and textures, ensuring that each bite is bursting with a harmonious blend of tastes. To achieve this, it is crucial to use only the freshest and highest quality ingredients available. The meat or fish must be seasoned with a combination of herbs and spices, such as garlic, thyme, and cumin, to give it an authentic Caribbean flavor.

CORNMEAL PASTELLE

Prep Time: 40 minutes 

Cook Time: 40 minutes 

Total Time: 1 hour  20 minutes 

Course: Breads

Cuisine: Spanish/ Hispanic

Servings: 12

Ingredients

  • FILLING:
  • 1 lb minced beef
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 1 bunch chive
  • 1 bunch big leaf thyme
  • 1 hot pepper to taste finely chopped
  • 1 pimento pepper finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 20 leaves chadon beni
  • 1 bunch fine leaf thyme
  • salt to taste
  • ¼ cup roucou or ketchup
  • 2 tbsp. capers optional
  • 2 tbsp. raisins optional
  • 8 olives chopped finely optional
  • DOUGH:
  • 2 cups yellow cornmeal Promasa
  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 4 tbsp. vegetable oil or coconut oil
  • ¼ lb butter unsalted
  • 1¼ tsp salt
  • Wrapping:
  • 2 -3 large fig banana leaves
  • Strings to tie

Instructions

  • Season the meat. Stew the seasoned meat for 15 minutes. Cook well, then add the roucou or ketchup. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Combine cornmeal, water, salt, and butter to make a soft pliable dough. Divide the dough into small balls (about 12). Cover with damp cloth to prevent drying.
  • Cut the fig leaves and strip them from the midrib. Singe the leaf over a low fire on the stove. Wipe clean.
  • Grind the green seasoning. Mince the meat again to make it smoother. Combine the seasoning and the meat and place back on the stove. Mix thoroughly and add salt to taste. Allow to cool.
  • Dip the ball in the oil. Place on an oiled fig leaf. Use a wooden press to help flatten out the dough. Spoon about 2 tbsp meat filling to the centre of the dough.
  • Fold the fig leaf and tie into a neat package using the string. Place in a pot of water and boil for 15-20 minutes. When cooked, drain the water.

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Recipe © Simply Trini Cooking. All rights reserved

Trinidad Cornmeal Pastelle

Prep Time40 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Breads
Cuisine: Spanish/ Hispanic
Servings: 12
Calories:
Author: Felix (Simply Trini Cooking)

Ingredients

  • FILLING:
  • 1 lb minced beef
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 1 bunch chive
  • 1 bunch big leaf thyme
  • 1 hot pepper to taste finely chopped
  • 1 pimento pepper finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 20 leaves chadon beni
  • 1 bunch fine leaf thyme
  • salt to taste
  • ¼ cup roucou or ketchup
  • 2 tbsp. capers optional
  • 2 tbsp. raisins optional
  • 8 olives chopped finely optional
  • DOUGH:
  • 2 cups yellow cornmeal Promasa
  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 4 tbsp. vegetable oil or coconut oil
  • ¼ lb butter unsalted
  • tsp salt
  • Wrapping:
  • 2 -3 large fig banana leaves
  • Strings to tie

Instructions

  • Season the meat. Stew the seasoned meat for 15 minutes. Cook well, then add the roucou or ketchup. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Combine cornmeal, water, salt, and butter to make a soft pliable dough. Divide the dough into small balls (about 12). Cover with damp cloth to prevent drying.
  • Cut the fig leaves and strip them from the midrib. Singe the leaf over a low fire on the stove. Wipe clean.
  • Grind the green seasoning. Mince the meat again to make it smoother. Combine the seasoning and the meat and place back on the stove. Mix thoroughly and add salt to taste. Allow to cool.
  • Dip the ball in the oil. Place on an oiled fig leaf. Use a wooden press to help flatten out the dough. Spoon about 2 tbsp meat filling to the centre of the dough.
  • Fold the fig leaf and tie into a neat package using the string. Place in a pot of water and boil for 15-20 minutes. When cooked, drain the water.

2 thoughts on “Trinidad Cornmeal Pastelle: A Traditional Island Delight”

    1. Hi Dee,
      We are not making up these figures. This link will explain the program we use. Also, note that we do not claim it to be 100% accurate, but definitely not wrong. Please, note the nutrition facts are a guide for readers.

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