Featured Recipe, Jul 08 2014What better way to get into the spirit for the World Cup finals than with an authentic Brazilian street food favorite? Have fun and get creative with the fillings. This recipe is guaranteed to be a winner!
Pastel is a popular street food all over Brazil, it can be served as a meal or as a snack. It is an envelope of thin crunchy fried crust, with many options for fillings, such as: cheese, cheese with tomatoes and oregano, minced beef, corn, palm heart.
Background: This is one of the 4 recipes I found among my grandmother's notes, the one that best matches the pastéis she used to make for us.
São Paulo, Brazil
- all purpose flour (3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon)
- lukewarm water (1/4 cup)
- vegetable oil (1/2 tablespoon)
- cachaça or vodka (1/2 tablespoon)
- salt (1/4 teaspoon)
- baking powder (1/4 teaspoon)
- sugar (1 pinch)
Gather all ingredients, heat the water.
Hand knead all of the ingredients just until you have a smooth dough.
Shape a ball with the dough, cover with a clean dish towel and let rest at room temperature for one to two hours.
Roll out the dough as thin as you can. (It's not necessary to dust the table with flour, it is very easy to handle and not sticky at all).
I cut 12x12cm squares of dough using a wheel.
I filled each one with a slice of cured cheese. If you choose another filling or decide to grate the cheese, put a little less than 2 tablespoons of filling per pastel.
Wet your finger in a little bit of water and run it along the edges of each square, then pressing them with a fork to seal.
Make sure you don't poke holes in the dough with the forks, if that happens the frying oil will invade the filling.
In medium-high heat, heat oil in a pan - just enough to cover one pastel.
Depending on the width of your pan, you can fry more than one pastel at once. I chose to use a small pan, since I prepared just a few pastéis and didn't want to use much oil.
To test the temperature, throw a small ball of dough into the oil. If it fries and goes to the surface right away, it's good.
Slowly and carefully slide each pastel into the pan, dropping them very close to the surface (otherwise, you might burn your hands in the hot oil splatters).
Let them fry quickly, flip to fry the other side, and as soon as you get them out with the help of a spatula let them sit briefly over absorbent paper.
Serve immediately, along with a meal of a snack (hint: they go great with beer).
Here, I served them along my lunch with rice & beans, salad and sautéed kale.
The measurements I use:
240ml for a cup
15ml for a tablespoon
5ml for a teaspoon.
Now you made it, don't forget to take a Cooksnap photo to upload below! Recipe authors always LOVE to hear from you and see how their recipe turned out in your kitchen.