This post post was written in collaboration with Latina Bloggers Connect and Maseca. All opinions are our own.
Cooking is one of those activities that definitely draws my family closer together. Over a cutting board that’s been weathered by years of cooking family meals, we catch up on the happenings of the family. That is how I spent last Saturday. I attempted, for the first time, to make Pastelitos Salvadoreños with the guidance of my mom.
Pastelitos, which simply means small cakes in English, are a traditional Salvadorean dish that somewhat resemble empanadas. Inside the pastelitos is a meat stuffing or picadillo. The delicious twist is that it’s accompanied by curtido and fresh salsa de tomate. In case you’ve never heard of curtido, it’s basically a cabbage relish that is a staple side in Salvadorean dishes like the famous pupusas.
Below is my mom’s recipe for pastelitos. Her recipe for most dishes is second nature to her so I tried to keep up with how much of each ingredient she was adding. I’m sure every Salvadorean home has a slightly different recipe for this dish, which makes it all the more special as it reflects that family’s taste. You can easily substitute the vegetables and meat for other ingredients you prefer.
- For Picadillo
- 1 pound of lean ground beef
- 1 clove of garlic (chopped)
- 1 large potato (chopped)
- ½ cup of chopped spring onion
- 2/3 cup of chopped celery
- 1 cup of chopped baby carrots
- 1 table spoon of olive oil
- 1 cube of beef flavored bouillon
- 1 teaspoon of dried, crushed oregano
- ½ a cabbage (shredded)
- ¾ cup of shredded carrots
- ½ of an onion cut into long strips
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup of boiling water
- 1 teaspoon of salt
Recipe for Pastelitos Salvadoreños (makes 12)
First Prepare the meat picadillo. Chop up your potatoes, carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Set Aside.
Heat up a medium sized cooking pot with one tablespoon of olive oil. Add ground beef, bouillon, and the crushed dried oregano to cooking pot. Use a spatula to stir meat and break it up if necessary.Add vegetables and cover until everything is fully cooked.
Heat up a frying pan with vegetable oil. Add enough oil so that the base of the pan is covered.
Prepare your masa mix while frying pan is heating up. Combine one pound of Maseca with 3 cups of cold water and salt to taste. Knead the masa until smooth.
Finally use a tortilla press (if you have one) to make tortilla shapes out of your masa. Place 1 to 2 spoonfuls of the picadillo into the middle of your tortilla. Fold over. Press sides closed with a fork.
Fry your pastelitos for about 10 minutes on each side over medium heat. When they are done they should have a golden, crispy texture to them.
Place over a paper towel to drain excess oil. Let cool and serve.
Recipe for Curtido
Combine cabbage, carrots, onion and oregano in a large bowl.
Add apple cider vinegar.
Slowly add one cup of boiling water.
Your pastelitos are ready! Serve them with love and enjoy with family and friends.