Brazilian Pasteis with Chicken (Pastel Frito de Frango) Recipe

Pastel Frito de Frango. Estúdio Luciano Azevedo/Getty Images
  • 75 mins
  • Prep: 45 mins,
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 20 pasteles (20 servings)
Ratings (6)

Pastéis are a Brazilian street food delicacy — fried pastries filled with various savory fillings like cheese, chicken, shrimp, hearts of palm or ground beef. Pastel dough is crispier than empanada dough, more like a spring roll, and pastéis are typically deep fried.

These pastries have a creamy filling of cheese and chicken seasoned with tomato and onion. Corn, peas, carrots, olives, and hard boiled eggs are popular additions to chicken pastéis.

What You'll Need

  • 3 chicken breast halves
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon
  • 1 medium onion (minced)
  • 3 green onions (white and green parts, chopped)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 cups vegetable oil for frying
  • For the pastel dough:
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons lard (or vegetable shortening)
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon vodka (or cachaça)

How to Make It

  1. Place the chicken breasts in a saucepan with the bouillon and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes more. Remove chicken and set aside, reserving broth.
  2. Prepare dough: Place flour in a large bowl. Add vegetable shortening, salt, baking powder, vinegar, egg, and vodka (if using). Mix 1/4 cup of the reserved chicken broth with 3/4 cup hot water. Add water mixture gradually to the flour mixture, stirring well. Add enough liquid to make a dough, and knead dough gently until smooth, adding more liquid if necessary. The dough should be soft and smooth, but not sticky (add more flour if dough is too wet). Let dough rest for 10 minutes.
  1. Shred the chicken finely (a food processor fitted with a plastic blade works well for this) and set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a skillet and sauté the onions and green onions until soft. Add the garlic salt, the oregano, the chile powder, and the cornstarch and mix well. Add the tomato paste and 1 cup of the reserved chicken broth and simmer, until mixture starts to thicken slightly. Add the shredded chicken and mix well, adding more chicken broth if mixture seems too dry. Remove from heat and stir in the cream cheese and lime juice until well mixed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Divide the dough in half and roll out one-half thinly on a floured surface. Fold in half once and roll it out again, then let it rest for 5 minutes. Roll it out as thinly as possible (to about a 9 by 12-inch rectangle). Using a pizza cutter, cut dough in half lengthwise, then cut each half vertically into 5 pieces, so that you have 10 rectangles of dough. (you don't have to cut them this size - they can be bigger or smaller).
  3. Place 1-2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture on top of a rectangle of dough. Dip your finger in water and moisten the edges of the rectangle. Place another rectangle of dough on top, encasing the filling. Press the edges of the 2 rectangles together, then pinch them together with a fork all the way around. Repeat with remaining rectangles, then roll out other half of dough and repeat.
  4. Heat 2-3 inches of oil in a heavy saucepan or deep fryer to 360 degrees. Fry pasteles in batches until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm.