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Chicken Pastel

In honor of the Olympics in Brazil, but still keeping with the street food theme today’s recipe is pastel. Pastel is a little bundle of goodness filled with some sort of savory filling. The dish originated from the Chinese egg roll. Many Chinese and Japanese people were brought to Brazil as early as the 16th century. The pastel became even more popular in Sao Paulo in the early to mid 1900s as more Japanese immigrants set up bakeries in the area. Brazil actually has one of the largest populations of Japanese people outside Japan.

I was excited to make this dish to accompany our viewing of the Olympics. Though I found a recipe for the dough, I knew the quickest way to get it done was to use pre-made wonton or egg roll wrappers.  The big difference between the pastel and an empanada is the dough. Because of the dough the pastel is crispier. Either way, I knew this dish would be a crowd pleaser, my family loves empanadas and egg rolls. I was right!! It was a hit. Hey, even though we are not in Brazil that doesn’t mean we can’t eat like we are while we watch it on TV. It’s a win, win.

Chicken Pastel

Makes 50 mini pastels

  • Wonton wrappers
  • 1 pound of boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of adobo powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 2 green onions (white & green parts) chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Season chicken with adobo (salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, onion powder, cumin).
  • Over medium high heat add 2 tablespoons of oil in a sauce pan
  • Cook chicken for 10 minutes in pan.
  • Add 2 cups of chicken stock and let chicken cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  • While chicken is cooking, add 2 tablespoons of oil to a sauce pan over medium heat.
  • Add onions and sauté until translucent.
  • Add green onions, garlic, oregano, chile powder and corn starch. Mix well.
  • Add tomato paste and 1 cup of chicken broth.
  • Turn heat to low and simmer until mixture slightly thickens.
  • Using a blender, add chicken and 1/2 cup of chicken stock to shred chicken well.
  • Add shredded chicken to tomato paste mixture. Add additional chicken broth if necessary
  • Remove from heat and fold in lime juice.
  • Season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
  • Remove several wontons from wrapper (place a damp paper tower over unused wrapper so they do not dry out)
  • Place one heaping teaspoon of chicken mixture in the center of the wonton wrapper.
  • Use your fingertip to run a little water around the edge of the wonton wrapper.
  • Fold wrapper over and press edges together using a fork to create a seal.
  • Heat  2 to 3 inches of oil in a pot over medium-high heat to about 350 F.
  • Add the sealed pastels and fry until golden brown.

And this crispy bundle of goodness is done.

Doesn’t this dish make you want to visit Sao Paulo?!?

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