Tag Archives: green banana

Frozen Vianda

9 Aug

I mentioned you on my Yuca Alcapurrias post that if you did not have the equipment, muscle or simply, like me, you’re too lazy to grind yuca all by yourself… you can certainly use frozen ground masa already available at supermarkets.

I visited the supermarket the other day with camera on hand to show you the different kinds of masas available for you already…

You see, on the left,  you have masa for alcapurrias and/or pasteles… you also have ground yautía by itself which would be delicious for these yautía fritters Mili and I used to make at the Center. You also have masa made from green banana, great to make little dumplings and boil into a soup.

In this other photo, you can see the ground yuca in the center… flanked by yautía and green banana. These are just made from another company.

These are available in all major supermarkets in Puerto Rico… but I have also seen these in supermarkets in Miami.

If you rather make boiled yuca to eat with Cuban mojo, there’s also convenient yuca cut into pieces ready to boil. This is the kind I usually buy when I need to get my Cuban fix at home. At the Yoga Center we peel yucas. At home, I just boil the frozen stuff!!!!

Three Kings Day Menu

6 Jan

Today is 3 Kings Day… when we celebrate the arrival of the 3 Wise Men to visit Baby Jesus at the manger. It’s a great holiday in Puerto Rico. Back in the days of my grandma, kids only received presents on 3 Kings Day, never on December 25. That’s a new thing of the last 50 years…

Because of my yoga retreats, which start on Dec 25 until Jan 1, our plans usually are to spend 3 Kings Day as a family at my aunt’s farm in the country. We had agreed she would make for us the traditional menu she likes to prepare for us:

Rice and Pigeon Peas or Rice with Corn

Vegetarian Pasteles brought by my mom and me

and yes… that’s a pastel hiding underneath all that ketchup…

Boiled Green Bananas

Green Salad

And my Tití Carmín’s famous Potato Salad

My former grad school roommate, Michelle, was always baffled by my wanting to have Potato Salad on our holiday menus. When for her, potato salad is a summer salad only. Well, my dear friend Michelle, Puerto Rico has consistent 70F weather during Xmas time, which is pretty warm for most US standards.

This year, my aunt and her husband are “under the weather” with one of the worst flu ever. So we had to cancel our 3 Kings Day celebration. Later on, I will be trying to attempt her Potato Salad recipe and try to share it with you all. OK?

Happy Triking Day!!!!

Pasteles in Banana Leaves

23 Dec

This is a very labor-intensive dish… the very same reason why most people in Puerto Rico buy their “pasteles” from someone who has the experience and the patience to make these.  In our yoga center, Mai, Mili and Katy are the pasteles experts.  They even make them to sell to anyone who’s interested in a delicious vegetarian version.

Pasteles hold the essence of the Puerto Rican holiday dinner…  a Xmas season without pasteles is like a day without sunshine, a beach without sand…  you have not eaten true Puerto Rican holiday food until you have one of these.

The whole deal is this MASA made from green banana and yautía filled with a soy-based stew.   Then it’s all wrapped in a banana leaf that will actually give the masa some of its flavor.  It’s very characteristic and you can find banana leaves in the refrigerated or produce section of a Latin supermarket.   Pasteles without at least a piece of banana leaf miss something.


This is a yautía… in Cuba, yautías are called malangas.  However, in Puerto Rico we call malanga a completely different tuber.  Do not confuse them.  I looked up in the internet and apparently it may also be called tanier = tannier = tannia.  Don’t know where, but if you can’t find them by the yautía name, any of other those might also work.  Yautías come in two varieties – white and purple.  You will need yautía blanca or white yautía for this dish.




12 green bananas
1lb white yautía
¾ cups milk
1 ½ tsp salt
2tbs sofrito
2 tbs annatto oil
½ cup textured soy protein – in cubes, soaked in filtered water for about ½ hour
1 small potato, cubed small
1 cup cooked chickpeas or garbanzo beans
2 cups mixed vegetables
½ cup raisins (optional)
½ cup sliced Spanish stuffed olives
3 tbs sofrito
2 tbs tomato paste
2 cups water
1 tbs olive oil
20-25 pieces of paper to roll pastels
Banana leaves – cut into rectangles of 10” x 8” approximately
Cotton kitchen twine


  1. Peel the banana and yautía and shred them using a food processor or a machine called Champion.  I have seen this machine also be used at Iron Chef America competition.
  2. Add the sofrito, salt, annatto oil and milk to the banana and yautía mixture.  Mix it all well to create a homogenous smooth mixture.  The annatto oil will provide a bright yellowy/orangey color to the mixture.  Set aside.

Now we make the filling…

  1. In a large saucepan, cook the olive oil along with salt, sofrito and tomato paste.    Add the garbanzo beans, soy protein, potato and water and cook everything for about 15-20 minutes. 
  2. Add the mixed vegetables and the raisins, if using.  Cook everything for about 15 more minutes.  Once everything is cooked, add the olives.

Now we assemble the pasteles…

  1. Place a banana leaf on top of the pastel paper (it’s similar to butcher’s paper). 
  2. Take a little bit of the sauce of the soy mixture and wet the banana leaf. 
  3. Take a large cooking spoon and spoon about a spoonful of masa in the center of the banana leaf.  Using the spoon, form a well in the center of the mixture and place about 2 tablespoons of the soy/vegetable mixture in the well. Carefully fold the leaf over, in order to cover the filling with masa on all sides. DO NOT over stuff them.
  4. Fold the paper like a letter and fold in the sides to create a compact package.  Tie them with cooking twine.  Be careful not to tie too tightly.
  5. Repeat this procedure until all the masa mixture has been used. You can now freeze or cook them when you are ready.  

When you are… 

  1. Place a large pot of salted water (as if you were to prepare pasta).  Boil the pasteles for about 45 minutes until the masa is cooked.  If you froze them, place them directly from the freezer onto the boiling water and boil for about 1 hour.
  2. Drain them well when you take them out of the water…  it’s not nice to have a puddle of pastel water in your plate when serving yourself the rest of the Xmas dinner.  Many people, including me, enjoy pasteles with a drizzle of ketchup on top.

Green Banana Escabeche

21 Dec

When I was growing up, I loved to eat these “guineítos” at my mom’s office parties.  I loved the tanginess of the vinegar…  You can eat these with toothpicks as an appetizer or as a side dish with your Arroz con Gandules and Pasteles.



24 green bananas, boiled and cut into slices
½ cup of green bell pepper, chopped
Salt to taste
Drizzle of vegetable or canola oil
2 cups of extra virgin olive oil
½ cup vinegar
About 12 black peppercorns
4 bay leaves
3 cups of yellow onions, sliced thin
12 cloves of garlic, sliced
The juice of 1 criollo lemon or lime
Salt to taste


  1. In a large pot filled with salted water and a drizzle of vegetable oil, place green bananas to boil.  They’ll be ready in about 20 minutes.  I show you here a step-by step process to boil the green bananas.
  2. When they’re boiled, peel off the banana skin, allow them to cool off and slice them into 1/2” rounds slices.  Set them aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, add the olive oil, vinegar, onions, peppercorns, bay leaves and garlic.  Cook over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, until the onions have softened, but not browned.  The onions should remain as white as possible.  Let the mixture cool a bit.
  4. In a glass pyrex dish, while the banana slices are still somewhat warm, mix together the green banana slices and the olive oil/onion mixture and green peppers.  Season with salt as needed.  Let the green bananas marinate in the escabeche mixture for at least 2-3 hours.  After the banana pieces have cooled off (at about the 1 hours mark), you can continue the marinating process in the refrigerator.

Serve directly from the fridge or at room temperature.  You can drizzle the juice of one criollo lemon or lime before serving for added zip.

Green Banana Mash

21 Feb

In Puerto Rico, when one does not feel well, we usually immediately crave or get prescribed “viandas” – viandas are mostly tubers – potatoes, yuca, yautia, malangas, sweet potatoes, yams, and for some reason plantains and green bananas are jammed up in there.  They are easy on the digestive system and seem to help you “get on your feet” again.

For some weird reason, I was craving viandas yesterday.  I went to the supermarket and spent 19 cents on 3 green bananas.  there is still something cheap at the supermarket.  Yes, bananas can be eaten ripe and green too… but you need to cook them.  We usually boil them.  But I need to show you a trick for it.


Green bananas, just like green plantains, have what we call “mancha” – they release a sap when you cut them open.  To avoid this, you just wipe some cooking oil in your hands and on the knife you’ll use to prevent the sap to stick to any of them.  When you go and boil them, add some cooking oil to the boiling water to prevent the sap to get on the saucepan.

Be careful – this mancha or sap STAINS A LOT.  If you get it on your clothes, more than likely you will not be able to get it off.  There’s a local saying when you can’t deny being a Puerto Rican, people say that you have “la mancha de plátano” or “plantain sap stain” resembling the fact that the sap from a green plantain or banana can’t never be cleaned or taken away. 

Here’s what you do…



3 green bananas
Salt – for the boiling water
Cooking oil – for the boiling water, your hands and the knife
Extra-virgin olive oil
Garlic Salt to taste 
  1. In a large pot, fill with water.  Add salt and a squirt of cooking oil. 
  2. Cut off the ends of each banana and cut a slit all the way down the banana.  Do not take the skin off the banana.  We’ll boil them with the skins on.  
  3. Boil in the pot for about 20 minutes, until the bananas are fork tender.  the water will turn a weird color – don’t dispair.  This is the sap in the banana skin.  
  4. Drain the bananas.  Take the skin off.  It should come off very easily.
  5. Mash with a fork while still warm… they’ll be harder to mash when they’re cool.  Drizzle with olive oil until you get a smooth consistency and season with garlic salt.

With a few more steps… we can convert this into mangu, a delicious Dominican dish.  That in an upcoming installment – OK?

I had this with my Avocado and Tomato Salad.

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