Pasteles de Yucca

Pasteles de Yucca (yields 10-12 pasteles)

Pasteles MASA(dough):
  • 3 1/2 - 4 pounds of yucca (also known as cassava)
  • 1/2 cup of sofrito
  • 1 small beef broth cube
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • 2 oz of water


  • 6 Tbsp achiote seeds (annato)
  • 2 cups of vegetable oil


  • 2 lbs boneless pork shoulder
  • 2 oz of sofrito (4 tbs)
  • 1 beef broth cube
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • 2 oz of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup spanish olives cut in half
  • 2 Tbsp capers
  • 1 14.5 oz can of garbanzos
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 small jar of pimentos

Equipment: 12 - 14 oz of banana leaves, wax paper & butchers twine

It is best to divide this project up over 2 days. You can do this one of two ways. You can choose to make the yucca and the achiote on day one and the filling and assembly on day two or you can do everything on day one and assembly on day two. I prefer the second option but what ever makes you happy.

If you want to make "Pasteles de Masa", which are made with plantians and yautia, substitute the yucca with 2 1/2 lbs of yautia and 1 1/2 lbs of plantains.  

MASA (day 1)

Cut the yucca into 3-4 pieces. The yucca should be milky white, if it has dark lines it's no bueno.

Score the skin, slip the knife under the skin and pry the it away from the yucca.

Cut the segments in half and expose a small root that runs down the middle of the yucca. Make a V shaped cut around the root to remove it. Like you would core a pear.

Using the shredder blade on you food processor or a manual grater, grate the yucca. Place the grated yucca root into the food processor using the blade, run the food processor until the yucca fine and pasty.

Place the yucca paste in a colander lined with cheese cloth, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight to drain.



Heat 1 1/2 - 2 cups of vegetable oil, add 6 tbs of annatto seeds to the oil. Allow the seeds to simmer until the oil reaches a bright red color.

Strain the seeds from the oil and discard the seeds. Allow the oil to cool and store in a sealed container until ready to use.


FILLING (day 1 or 2)

Break a boneless pork shoulder down into 1/2 inch cubes. Season with garlic powder, oregano, onion powder and salt.

In a large skillet heat 1/4 cup of achiote oil and 4 tablespoons of sofrito on low heat for 5 minutes. Add pork, beef broth cube and 1 cup of water to the skillet. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cover, for 30 minutes. Add garbanzo beans, rasins and olives to the skillet, cover and simmer and additional 15-20 minutes.

The meat should finish tender but not falling apart and with a saucy gravy. If the sauce is too watery uncover and bring to a boil to reduce. Drizzle with two tablespoons of olive oil and combine.



In a skillet simmer 1/4 cup of achiote oil and 3/4 cup of sofrito for 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of water, a beef broth cube, salt, onion powder, garlic powder and oregano, simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Add the seasoning to the grated yucca, mix until combined.

Drizzle 1/2 cup of achiote oil into the yucca. Mix together until well combined and the yucca has an orange color, set aside until ready to use.



Remove the ridge from the leaves. Cut the banana leaves into 12 x 12 inch squares and wash the banana leaves under warm running water. Place them in a hot oven for 5 minutes or toast them over an open flame, this helps make the leaf more flexible.


ASSEMBLY (day 2)

Set up assembly station with yucca mixture, filling, achiote oil, banana leaves, wax papper squares and butchers twine.

Lay out a square of wax papper and a square of banana leave over it, spread 1 tsp of achiote oil on the banana leaf. Scoop 1/4 cup of the yucca mixture on to the banana leave and spread out into a square.

Place 2 tbs of filling down the center and top with pimentos if you like. Using the banana leaf fold the yucca over the filling.

Bring the leaf ends together. Fold over twice to create a tight seal. Tuck the ends under, if the banana leaf splits a little don't stress we are going to fold it again in wax paper. Do the same wrap and fold with the wax paper. If you use only wax papper I recommend double wrapping.

Tie two pasteles together with butchers twine like a present with the folded ends facing each other.

At this point you can get ready to boil them right away or you can freeze them until ready to use. When ready to cook bring a large pot of water to a boil, drop in pasteles and boil for 45 minutes for fresh and 1 hour for frozen.

Using a pair of tongs pick the pastel out of the water by the string and place on a paper towel. Cut the string and gently unwrap.

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