With the World Cup festivities happening in Brazil, a great way to get the merriment started is to check out this recipe for pastel, Brazil’s authentic fast food.
When in Brazil, you may come across pastel being sold on the street, or in so-called Pastelarias. Tasty as a snack, pastel is typically a deep-fried pie with a thin crust and savoury filling. Fillings can vary, but usually include tasty ingredients such as mozzarella, ground meat, cream cheese, chicken or shrimp.
The origin of the Brazilian pastel is somewhat debatable. Some say it was derived from Japanese immigrants replicating the wonton, whereas others believe its history lies with the Italian calzone or the Indian samosa. Either way, it’s simple and delicious, and what could be more satisfying than some deep-fried pastry to keep you going through the football season? Some people use cachaça or vodka in their recipe to help keep the pastry crisp, although this is totally the cook’s decision.
Recipes for pastel dough vary, but the below basic recipe should be enough for about 25 pastels in total.
- 500g of plain flour
- About half a pint of warm water
- Half a tablespoon of chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon of cachaça (vodka can be used as an alternative)
- Half a tablespoon of lard
- Half a tablespoon of salt
First of all, combine the salt and flour before carefully adding the chicken broth and lard.
Mix together the warm water with the cachaça (or vodka), and steadily add it to the dough a bit at a time. Be careful here, as it’s important not to add too much of the water mixture, or to mix the dough too much. As soon as the dough is fully combined and creates a round shape, then you’ve added enough water.
Now it’s time to leave to dough to rest for about a quarter of an hour. Once this is complete, it’s ready to be rolled out and filled with whatever you want! Popular fillings include ground meat, chicken and cheese, however, some make pastels with sweet fillings such as chocolate or even banana! Depending on the size of your pastels, they’re usually deep fried for about eight minutes, or until browned. You can do this in a deep fryer, or in a deep pan on the hob. Do be careful when cooking them as the oil will be very, very hot!