Mother Earth Living

The Real Scoop on Soy: Grandma's Pastelitos

By Nancy Allison
September/October 2006
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  • One 6-ounce package tempeh, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and cut in half
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into thin half-moons
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup raisins, soaked in warm water about 10 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 package square 3.5-inch wonton skins
  • Grapeseed or olive oil for frying

Combine tempeh, potato, stock and crushed garlic in medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until potato is fork-tender. Remove tempeh and potato from broth and allow to cool. Strain cooking liquid into a small bowl and set aside. Shred tempeh using a grater and set aside. Cut potato into 1/4-inch squares and set aside.

Heat olive oil in large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add minced garlic, onions, shredded tempeh, salt, black pepper and oregano and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until tempeh is lightly browned. Turn up heat and stir in tomato paste and 2 cups of reserved cooking liquid. Cook until liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes.

Drain soaked raisins. Add them to the pan, along with reserved potatoes and the capers. Stir to combine and cook for about 2 minutes, to warm through. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Set aside to cool.

When filling has cooled, lay out 5 wonton skins at a time on a work surface. Set up a small bowl filled with warm water. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of the filling in the middle of each skin. Dip your fingers into the water and glide along the edge of each filled square. Fold corner over to form a triangle. Press tightly with a fork to seal. Set aside. Repeat until you have used all the filling.

Fill a medium skillet with 1/2 inch grapeseed oil. Place over medium-high heat until oil is hot. Add the pastelitos in one layer, frying until golden brown, about 30 seconds on each side. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Recipe courtesy of Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen (Tarcher/Penguin, 2006), by Bryant Terry and Anna Lappé.

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