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Brazilian Pastels

This was first made for me by a brazilian that lived in our house and has been one of my favorite foods since! This recipe takes skill and you could mess up but if you get it right it will be very tasty.


  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon
  • 1 medium onion (minced)
  • 3 green onions (white and green parts, chopped)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 lime (juiced)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • 5 cups vegetable oil (or amount needed for frying)

For the pastel dough:

  • 3 cups flour (all-purpose)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons lard (or vegetable shortening)
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

Steps to Make It

Cook the Chicken

  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. In a saucepan, place the chicken breasts with the bouillon and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside, reserving the broth.

Prepare the Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, vegetable shortening, salt, baking powder, vinegar, egg, and vodka (if using).
  3. Mix 1/4 cup of the reserved chicken broth with 3/4 cup hot water. Gradually add this water mixture to the flour mixture, stirring well.
  4. Add enough liquid to make a dough, and knead dough gently until smooth, adding more liquid if necessary. The dough should be soft and smooth, but not sticky (add more flour if the dough is too wet). Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Prepare the Chicken Filling

  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. Shred the chicken finely (a food processor fitted with a plastic blade works well for this) and set aside.
  3. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and saute the onions and green onions until soft.
  4. Add the garlic salt, oregano, chili powder, and cornstarch and mix well. Add the tomato paste and 1 cup of the reserved chicken broth and simmer, until mixture starts to thicken slightly.
  5. Add the shredded and mix well, adding more chicken broth if the mixture seems too dry.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in the cream cheese and lime juice until well mixed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Assemble the Pastels

  1. Divide the dough in half and roll out one half thinly on a floured surface. Fold in half once and roll it out again, then let it rest for 5 minutes. The goal is to roll it out as thinly as possible (to about a 9- by 12-inch rectangle).
  2. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough in half lengthwise, then cut each half vertically into 5 pieces, so that you have 10 rectangles of dough. They do not need to be an exact size and you can make them bigger or smaller as you see fit.
  3. Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture on top of a rectangle of dough.
  4. Dip your finger in water and moisten the edges of the rectangle.
  5. Place another rectangle of dough on top, encasing the filling.
  6. Press the edges of the 2 rectangles together, then pinch them together with a fork all the way around. Repeat with remaining rectangles, then roll out the other half of dough and repeat.
  7. Heat 2 to 3 inches of oil in a heavy saucepan or deep fryer to 360 F. Fry pasteles in batches until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve warm.

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