“Olè Olè” the only words that are running in my head because it's finally here, FIFAAAAAAAAAAA WORLD CUP 2014. So let's celebrate the of essence of Brazil with Pastel - small fried savory stuffed pastry, which is easy for bachelors to dish out in the kitchen. It's just the dish you would want to snack on while catching the game on the telly. I have used lamb and cheese fillings, but the variations you can imagine and do are endless. So quickly grab everything and get ready to watch the most celebrated sport in the world.
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins.
Yield: 16 Pastels
For the pastry –
2 cups of refined flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
A pinch of salt and sugar
2 tbsp. of vegetable oil
2 tbsp. of cachaça (Brazilian rum)/tequila/vodka, optional
¾ cup of warm water
• To prepare the dough, mix all the ingredients except water till its incorporated well and gradually add water while mixing it with your hands. Knead the dough till it all binds and becomes a ball; ensure it does not stick to your fingers/bowl anymore.
• Dust the work surface and knead well until smooth. Return it back to the bowl and cover it with a damp cloth and let it rest.
For the Filling –
1 ½ tbsp. of olive oil
300 Gms Good quality lamb mince. You can use beef/pork/chicken/soya granules if you like.
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 medium sized tomato, deseeded finely chopped
1 tsp. of chili paste (add a tsp. more for extra heat)
A good pinch of salt and black pepper
2 spring onions, finely chopped
• Heat oil in a large pan; add finely chopped onions and garlic and sauté till onions are soft and translucent.
• Add the mince lamb and cook until browned, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes and chili paste and ½ tsp. of sugar; cook until tomatoes are soft and incorporated well for 5-6 minutes. Season it with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning if required.
• Let it cool for 10 mins and fold in the chopped spring onions.
To make the pastels –
50 Gms of cheese cut into cubes, I have used garlic flavored Gouda cheese. You can also use cheddar, mozzarella or just simple processed cheese if you like.
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
• Dust the work surface with flour, to ensure the dough does not stick to the surface. Roll out half the dough into a sheet and with a help of a round cutter/ stainless steel dabba cut roundels as shown in the picture.
• Spoon the lamb mince in each of the roundels and place a cube of cheese on the filling. Now carefully fold the dough over forming a semi circle, securing the stuffing inside with your hands. Press fingers around the dough and seal it. Press it with a fork on the borders as shown in the picture and seal it completely.
• Repeat the process till you prepare all the pastels.
• Heat oil in a vessel and fry the pastels on a medium heat till its golden brown in color. Remove on a plate lined with paper towel and let it soak the excess oil of the surface. Let it rest for 2 minutes and serve hot with some ketchup.
You know what’s funny? These Pastels are so similar to “Gujiya”, “Karanjee” or even a samosa from our Indian cuisine. They are called Empanadas in European and Latin countries and Dumplings in Far East Asian countries. It surprises me how different cultures and their foods have built recipes on common grounds. So lets bring everyone together and Samba our way this football season with Pitbull and Jenny singing, “We are one”… Peace!
Article and Images by: Harsh Dixit
Four Seasons Recommends -
Four Seasons Barrique Reserve Shiraz is apt for pairing with herbed meats, fried and cheesy dishes, thus proving to be great to sip with Pastels. Enjoyed best between 18 -20º C.