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One overhead shot of a pastel en hoja topped with hot sauce
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4.27 from 15 votes

Pasteles en Hoja (Dominican Plantain Leaf Pockets)

A delicious plantain and root vegetables masa (dough) filled with meat and made into a pocket using plantain leaves – the ultimate holiday dish.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 45 mins
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: caribbean, Dominican, Puerto Rican
Servings: 12 pasteles
Calories: 227kcal
Author: Vanessa


  • cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of annatto/achiote seeds
  • 2 large green plantains, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 pound white yautia, peeled
  • 1 pound auyama (kabocha squash), peeled and cut in two
  • 1 teaspoon adobo seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons sofrito mix (cilantro, garlic, onion, cubanelle peppers)
  • plantain leaves (sold frozen at the grocery store)
  • parchment paper
  • Kitchen Twine (Cooking String)
  • 3 cups cooked picadillo, for the filling


  • In a small sauce pan, warm vegetable oil and annatto/achiote seeds for about 3-4 minutes to infuse oil with color and flavor. Set aside and let cool.
  • Peel vegetables. Using the smallest side of a grater, grate all vegetables into a large bowl.
  • Add adobo seasoning, sofrito and 2 tablespoons of the annatto/achiote infused oil. Mix well.
  • Cut parchment paper into 10 X 10 inch pieces. Cut plantain leaves into 6 X 6 inch pieces approximately.
  • Place a piece of parchment paper at the bottom and a piece of plantain leaf on top.
  • In the center of the piece of plantain leaf, spread 1 teaspoon of the annatto-infused oil. Then, place about 3 tablespoons of the masa and top with about 2 tablespoons of meat filling.
  • Fold the bottom side of the parchment parper up to fold the mixture and cover the meat. Continue to roll vertically making the pocket tight. Fold the sides to completely close up the ends pocket. Using kitchen twine, tightly secure the pocket.
  • In a large pot of water, boil pockets for 30-45 minutes. if cooking from frozen, boil the pockets for at least 1 hour.
  • Carefully, unwrap and serve warm with hot sauce and/or ketchup.


  • Once cooked, I like to put mayo and ketchup on mine before eating. Others like to top their pasteles with hot sauce, but you can dress it however you like.
  • Roll the tamales tightly so that the filling is contained.
  • Don't spread the masa all the way to the edges. You want to leave some room to help with the folding and the masa will expand when cooked.
  • Pasteles can be made ahead and placed in the freezer for about 4 weeks. When ready to cook, place them in a pot to boil while still frozen for about 1 hour.


Calories: 227kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Sodium: 10mg | Potassium: 464mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1036IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1mg