Simply Trini Cooking

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  1. LKA
    November 29, 2008 • 5:48 am

    mmmmmmmmm… i can almost taste them! can’t wait to get home for christmas!

    thanks for all the good recipes on your blog!

  2. pixen
    December 1, 2008 • 2:44 pm

    The homemade wooden pastelle press is really interesting gadget! The leaves you used to wrap the pastelle was confused at first as the picture indicated fig leaves not banana leaves…:-D

    Another is the Chandon beni, I didn’t know this Saw-toothed Coriander or Culantro can be used in this way as well. Now, I need to hunt for big leaf thyme! Thank yo for sharing such wonderful infos of your local herbs and recipes!

    December 1, 2008 • 4:41 pm

    Thank you pixen for the comment. I have to explain the fig leaf part to you. In the Caribbean banana is referred to as fig hence if you you go to any market in Trinidad and Tobago and ask for a fig, ripe or green, you would get bananas. To get accustomed with with the way in which we speak, you should check out my trini dictionary. Also, chadon beni is a herb that we use in every trini recipe you could think of. Well except for cake :^) Thank you once again.

  4. Jenna
    December 1, 2008 • 4:58 pm

    that “green seasoning” looks delish! i look forward to sampling pastelle on a future trip to trini! we have a lot of regional restaurants in houston, but i haven’t seen one offering food inspired by trinidad. Food With Kid Appeal

  5. Ruth
    December 2, 2008 • 2:45 am

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    December 2, 2008 • 4:39 am

    Thank you Ruth for stopping by. Do come by often and leave a comment it will benefit you. My blog is a do follow.

  7. Joie de vivre
    December 2, 2008 • 9:29 pm

    Great post. Very well explained and shown.

  8. Fanny
    December 9, 2008 • 6:52 am

    I am soo happy to have stumble upon your site. What started out as a search for dhal puri roti recipe, ended up with your awesome blog. I love your step by step and I am going to try every one of your recipes (ingredients permitting) “I’m in heaven” as Frank Sinatra says. P.s. I live in Canada I’m seriously deprived of Caribbean soul food. I look forward to more of your delish morsels.

  9. Fanny
    December 9, 2008 • 6:53 am

    p.s Interested on your take on coconut choka? ummmmmmm

  10. bigbear6208
    December 9, 2008 • 4:06 pm


    I moved back to Trinidad a couple of weeks, do want me to take pictures for you, to bring out the taste of your food.

    Contact me at

    December 9, 2008 • 10:02 pm

    It’s nice to hear from you after such a long time bigbear. It would be nice to get some photo tips from a pro like you.

  12. Deborah
    December 16, 2008 • 4:52 pm

    i really want to try your recipe for cornmeal pastelle. i live in the states so i don’t know where i could buy some fig leaf. i’m wondering if you have an alternative for wrapping them in?

    December 16, 2008 • 7:22 pm

    Hi Deborah, thanks for stopping by. Instead of using fig (banana) leaves you could use foil or parchment paper. Last Sunday I had a fish pastelle wrapped in parchment paper and it was delish.

  14. Lindy
    December 20, 2008 • 12:32 pm

    To Deborah…I am not sure where you are in the US, but any Caribbean or Latin/Asian farmers market should sell them. I got mine in the freezer section(imagine that)!. Also for the pastelle press, up here the Latinos would know it as a tortilla press.

  15. Onlinetrini
    December 21, 2008 • 10:59 pm

    Thanks for your great pictures. I am in the US and use really fine cornmeal (Goya) for my pastels. Yet I can never achieve the firm balls you show; instead mine becomes a wet slurry after mixing with the fat and water. It still comes out okay but makes for a VERY messy process. Any thoughts on this (besides taking a trip down for some Promasa)? :-)

    December 22, 2008 • 12:22 am

    OK Online, let me see if I can help. Promasa cornmeal, from experience, mixes well in that the more water you add to it, the stiffer it gets. That’s why we had to put that amount of water. I’m not sure what accounts for that, possibly it’s the starch content or something.

    You could try to use less water, pouring a little at a time, to get the same consistency as in the picture; since the cornmeal is different to what I used. Alternatively you can add a little flour to help the dough bind.

    Or if you want promasa check out and order online. Lastly according to where you are in the “States” you can check a West Indian market or shop. Hope this helps and Merry Christmas.

    • cheynette
      December 14, 2012 • 8:39 pm


      Actually the Promasa is a corn flour not cornmeal. They are two different things. So it maybe better to point out corn flour as part of the recipe not cornmeal.

      Keep up the posts and recipes. Love it!

  17. Deborah
    December 22, 2008 • 9:41 pm

    thanks Lindy for the tip. I’ll go see if I can find those leaves.

  18. Anonymous
    March 15, 2009 • 4:29 pm

    Thank you for this really great site which I found while roaming. I am originally a Trini although once one ……… In my very busy life I make pastelles often, flattening with a cast iron tortilla press although I had brought a wooden press with me, and wrapping in parchment as fig leaves are not available. Taste is great and since they are served unwrapped fig leaves are not noticed nor missed, even by my Trini friends. Row

  19. Anonymous
    March 15, 2009 • 4:31 pm

    About Promasa, that is masa harina. Row

  20. Raz4125
    March 16, 2009 • 12:49 am

    Hi Row,

    Thanks for visiting. Yes, it is a type of masa harina that we use in Trinidad and have come to trust, when it comes to making pastelle. If you check the comments though, some people used different brands of masa and had to experiment a little with measurements.

  21. Ali
    December 8, 2010 • 3:11 am

    Hey! thanks so much for the recipe!I’m going to try it next week or so and I’m just wondering is it absolutely necessary to grind the meat? I’m a poor student in London and don’t have a grinder:S only a fairly simple blender

  22. Felix
    December 8, 2010 • 9:15 pm

    Use what you have :-)

  23. Ali
    December 9, 2010 • 9:47 pm

    Thanks Feliz:) I had the same problem as Online though. My dough mixture was too soggy and I had to add more flour to bind it. Then after I steamed it and tried one, the dough was ok but still too soft and not looking as firm and shiny like the award winning pastelles in the picture above:( :(

  24. Felix
    December 10, 2010 • 12:19 am

    If you can’t get the Promasa you may have to experiment a bit like some of the other comments also check how much butter you use. if you added more flour then you would have to adjust the butter and other ingredients.

    Hope you get through with your pastelle. :-)

  25. leoa
    December 21, 2011 • 6:29 am

    oh boy, I tried using pollenta because I can’t get corn meal flour here…soggy is joke. I’ll keep you posted, leeting the mix cool in the fridge overnight. d

  26. judy
    December 29, 2011 • 5:40 am

    You could use masa flour that the mexican uses to make tamales. There tamales is close to our pastelle, you can find it in any major food stores and mexican stores. In the food store you can purchase it for $2.99 U.S. for a 4lb bag this is in the U.S. and the leaves you can also find it in Walmart in the frozen section In the Asian stores and Indian stores and also mexican stores I have seen it in all the above stores. Happy shopping Judy

  27. judy
    December 29, 2011 • 5:48 am

    Hi Felix,
    I know it is after xmas but I am making pastelle for the New year I did not have a lot of time to make it before xmas I travel overseas a lot so I did not have a lot of time. I have everything except for spanish time is hard to find it here. And I am using mexican masa flour I will let you know how it turn out today I made the ground meat and the next day I will put it all together thank you for letting me relive my childhood by making my own pastelle!

  28. jackie_t
    April 5, 2012 • 5:13 am

    Similar to the ‘empanadas’,

    This is NOT a Spanish dish, this is Latin American.
    There is a HUGE difference between Spanish dishes i.e from Spain and Latin American dishes i.e primarily based on Native (Latin) American cooking.

    Spanish food/dishes refers to that which originated in Europe, NOT Latin America.

    The corn alone should tip you off that it’s not a dish with European roots along with the fact that corn was a staple in the Native Latin Americans diet.

    A site with so many visitors should atleast make such a correction.

    Just my 2c, keep up the good work.

  29. Felix
    April 5, 2012 • 2:05 pm

    Hi Jackie, thank you for your comment, again. As I explain under your comment for empanadas, Trinidadians, as myself, classify food dishes that have its origins in Latin America or Spain as “Spanish”; it is a cultural norm. Now, I myself have roots from Venezuela, so too are many other Trinidadians. So I am well aware of the origins of the foods such as empanadas and pastelles. I spoke more on this in the article on “The Origins of Parang” ( Thank you for your observation. I hope this has thrown some light on this controversial topic.

    If anyone else wants to share their thoughts on this topic, feel free to comment.

  30. necia
    December 18, 2012 • 9:25 pm

    Thank you sooooooooo much for your recipes, my daughters loved your GHP’s Peanut Butter cookies…(perfect the first time around), pertaining 2 your pastelle recipe I cheated…. time was short so I cut letter sized sheets of foil, placed 5 inch wide strips of banana leaf on the foil, folded edges tightly and boiled it seam side down got and loved the banana leaf infused flavour. Just had to say that u made one trini mom (and daughters) very happy thanks a milllion and one.

  31. Dawn
    January 8, 2013 • 9:44 pm

    Just stumbled upon this site. Excellent recipe ideas. Hoping to try my hand with the coocoo today. Had to go to four different supermarket before I found ochro. Recently moved from New York to Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Anyone coming across this post and live in my neck of the woods please let me know where The West Indin shops are. Thanks a bunch!

  32. Ted
    February 25, 2013 • 11:53 am

    Is shadon benny easy to obtain in Ohio?

  33. Anonymous
    May 26, 2013 • 11:27 pm

    I’m really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one nowadays..

  34. Karma Alexander
    November 23, 2013 • 9:27 am

    Thanks Felix Padilla

  35. Debora Alexis
    November 23, 2013 • 9:34 am

    The best stuff! Thank you

  36. Maria
    November 23, 2013 • 9:41 am

    Great recipe!! Promasa is Colombian :)

  37. Naseem Moha'd
    November 23, 2013 • 10:23 am

    i like this but never try to make it ,maybe i will try too this Christmas.

  38. Denise Thomas
    November 23, 2013 • 12:57 pm

    I thought it was payme

  39. Andrea Garrett
    November 23, 2013 • 1:50 pm

    Tried one made this way, wasn’t a fan, guess i’ll stick to what I know. Spanish style, made with plantains.

  40. Pamela Pelfrey Lee
    November 23, 2013 • 3:43 pm

    These are very good. Quite a project to make but certainly worthwhile during the holidays.

  41. Maria Choy
    November 23, 2013 • 4:36 pm

    Where to buy a press? Thanks you

  42. Mareshah Wells
    November 23, 2013 • 11:11 pm

    i want to know if theres a way to heat pastelle up. because there just get so dry when i heat them in the microwave

    • Simply Trini Cooking
      November 23, 2013 • 11:51 pm

      We usually steam them in a double boiler. A trick for the microwave is to wrap the pastelle in some napkins. That will help retain some of the moisture in the pastelle.

  43. Michelle Bahadur Casimir
    November 23, 2013 • 11:36 pm

    Robertha Paul

  44. Mareshah Wells
    November 23, 2013 • 11:54 pm

    Thank you so much

  45. Nikki Lang
    November 24, 2013 • 4:06 pm

    cant wait to try, but i dont have a pastelle press? what can i use instead..and the leave, ive seen them frozen?

  46. Peppa Pat
    November 25, 2013 • 12:23 am

    What about the paime?

  47. lisssa
    March 16, 2014 • 7:51 pm

    Don’t like PR pastelles, prefer Trini style as that’s what I’m used to. But if I ate 20 more I probably fall in love with them. Don’t give up on ‘em Andrea, once u get uses to them you’ll fall too, like any new foods!

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