Brazilian Pasteis With Chicken (Pastel Frito de Frango)

Brazilian Pasteis With Chicken (Pastel Frito de Frango)

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 45 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 75 mins
Servings: 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
439 Calories
26g Fat
33g Carbs
17g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 439
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 26g 33%
Saturated Fat 5g 26%
Cholesterol 63mg 21%
Sodium 814mg 35%
Total Carbohydrate 33g 12%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 17g
Vitamin C 3mg 17%
Calcium 52mg 4%
Iron 3mg 14%
Potassium 234mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Pastéis are a Brazilian street food delicacy. These fried pastries are often sold filled with various savory fillings like cheese, chicken, shrimp, hearts of palm, or ground beef. Pastéis are typically deep fried and although the dough used for this beloved food may resemble empanada dough in some ways, it's crispier and crunchier—more like a spring roll.

Corn, peas, carrots, olives, and hard-boiled eggs are popular ingredients that you can add to chicken pastéis, but this recipe for pastel frito de frango has a creamy filling of cheese and chicken seasoned with tomato and onion. To speed things up, you can make the chicken ahead of time (and the filling itself, too) in order to break this recipe into steps and make it easier to pull off.

3:12

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Ingredients

  • 3 chicken breasts

  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 medium onion, minced

  • 3 green onions, white and green parts, chopped

  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt

  • 1 teaspoon oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 4 ounces cream cheese

  • 1/2 lime, juiced

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 5 cups vegetable oil, for frying

For the pastel dough:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons lard, or vegetable shortening

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • 3/4 cup water, hot

  • 1 tablespoon vodka (or cachaça), optional

Steps to Make It

Prepare the Filling

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Brazilian Pasteis With Chicken (Pastel Frito de Frango), filling ingredients

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. In a saucepan, place the chicken breasts with the bouillon and cover with water. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 minutes.

    Chicken breasts with the bouillon in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Turn off the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside, reserving the broth.

    Cook chicken in a covered saucepan

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Shred the chicken finely (a food processor fitted with a plastic blade works well for this) or shred with two forks, and set aside.

    Chicken shredded with forks on a plate

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and sauté the onions and green onions until soft.

    Onions and green onions cooking in a skillet with oil

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  6. Add the garlic salt, oregano, chili powder, and cornstarch. Mix well.

    Garlic salt, oregano, chili powder, and cornstarch added to the onion mixture in the skillet

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  7. Add the tomato paste and 1 cup of the reserved chicken broth and simmer, until the mixture starts to thicken slightly.

    Tomato paste and chicken broth added to the onion mixture in the skillet

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  8. Add the shredded chicken and mix well, adding more chicken broth if the mixture seems too dry.

    Shredded chicken cooking with the tomato onion mixture in the skillet

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  9. Remove from heat and stir in the cream cheese and lime juice until well mixed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside while you prepare the dough.

    Cream cheese and lime juice added the chicken mixture in the skillet

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prepare the Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Pastry dough ingredients

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, vegetable shortening, salt, baking powder, vinegar, egg, and vodka (if using).

    Flour, vegetable shortening, salt, baking powder, vinegar, egg, and vodka in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Mix 1/4 cup of the reserved chicken broth with 3/4 cup hot water.

    Chicken broth and hot water in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Gradually add this water mixture to the flour mixture, stirring well.

    Dough in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. 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 the dough is too wet). Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

    Smooth ball of dough ball in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Assemble the Pastéis

  1. Divide the dough in half and roll out one half thinly on a floured surface.

    Pastry dough rolled out into a rectangle on a wood surface

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Fold in half once and roll it out again, then let it rest for 5 minutes. The goal is to roll it out as thinly as possible (to about a 9- by 12-inch rectangle).

    Rectangular sheet of dough on wooden cutting board

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Cut the dough in half lengthwise.

    Dough cut into two long rectangular pieces

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Then cut each half vertically into 5 pieces, so that you have 10 rectangles of dough. They do not need to be an exact size, and you can make them bigger or smaller as you see fit.

    Rolled out dough cut into 10 pieces

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture on top of a rectangle of dough.

    Chicken filling on top of pastry piece

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  6. Dip your finger in water and moisten the edges of the rectangle.

    Water on the edges of the pastry with filling

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  7. Place another rectangle of dough on top, encasing the filling.

    Place another rectangle of dough on top, encasing the pastry filling

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  8. 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 the other half of dough and repeat.

    Dough edges of the 2 rectangles pressed together, then pinched together with a fork around the edges

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  9. Heat 2 to 3 inches of oil in a heavy saucepan or deep fryer to 360 F. Fry pasteles in batches until golden brown.

    Pasteles frying in a pot of oil

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  10. Drain on paper towels and serve warm. Enjoy!

    Brazilian Pasteis With Chicken (Pastel Frito de Frango) on a plate

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

How to Store Brazilian Pastéis

As with most fried foods, these will taste the best as soon as they've cooled enough to handle and then eat. You can certainly refrigerate them and then eat them cold or at room temperature, but you'll lose the crispy texture. They don't reheat particularly well, unless you can reheat them in an air fryer.

If you want to freeze components of this dish, you can. Make the dough and the filling and freeze them separately for later assembly. Bring the ingredients to room temperature.