Karla Vasquez's Salvadoran Pastelitos de Hongos Recipe

Eric Ginsburg

Karla Tatiana Vasquez's original recipe for pastelitos de hongos is part of her ground-breaking new cookbook.

Salvadoran food is a lot more than pupusas. As the new SalviSoul Cookbook: Salvadoran Recipes and The Women That Preserve Them documents, dishes tied to the small Central American nation are rich, varied, complex — and deeply satisfying. From pastelitos de hongos (mushrooms) to to snackable mamosas (and yes, also pupusas), this cookbook by Karla Tatiana Vasquez is a massive contribution to the canon of Salvadoran cuisine.

Before SalviSoul, there were no cookbooks of Salvadoreño, or Salvi, food commercially published in the United States. 

Courtesy SalviSoul Pastelitos Photo

In it, Vasquez shares stories and recipes learned from Salvadoran women in southern California, including family members like her mother. Some, she developed or adapted herself, including this mushroom-driven pastelito recipe.

"When the COVID-19 pandemic began, all my gigs and work dried up and we couldn’t continue in-person classes," Vasquez writes. "This opened a huge, obvious opportunity to explore some of my favorite Salvadoran foods with folks through online cooking classes.

"Throughout those months, students tuned in from France, Canada, Japan, and Belgium, and this recipe was one of my more popular offerings," she wrote. "This dish is usually made with beef, pork, or chicken, but I love mushrooms and needed to explore them when people requested more vegetarian options. This recipe is the result."

Let's dive in!

Courtesy SalviSoul Author Photo - Karla Tatiana Vasquez

Above: the author

Ingredients

You'll need the following ingredients to make this recipe:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • ½ cup minced white onion

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, finely chopped

  • 5 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder

  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano

  • 4½ cups water, or as needed

  • 2 cups peeled and diced potatoes

  • 1 cup peeled and diced carrot

  • 1 cup chopped Roma tomato

  • ½ cup chopped green beans

  • 2 cups masa harina

  • 2 teaspoons achiote powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 2 cups vegetable oil or peanut oil

  • Curtido and Salsa de Tomate for serving (optional)  

Courtesy SalviSoul Pastelitos Picture

Directions

Follow these steps to successfully make about 12-14 pastelitos!

  1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until it shimmers. Add the onion, garlic, and salt and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon of the chicken bouillon, the oregano, and ½ cup of the water and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is mostly absorbed, about 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a mixing bowl.

  2. In the same pan over medium-high heat, combine the potatoes, carrot, tomato, green beans, 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and let the vegetables simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to the same bowl containing the mushroom mixture.

  3. In a large bowl, combine the masa harina, achiote powder, baking soda, and remaining 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon. Slowly add the remaining 2 cups water to the masa harina and knead until the dough reaches the consistency of Play-Doh. (When the dough is pressed, its sides should not tear.) Pour some water into a small bowl and keep it handy for moistening the dough. Roll 1½ to 2 ounces of masa between the palms of your hands until it forms a completely round ball. Then start flattening it with the fingertips of your dominant hand. Rotate the round slightly so that it gets pressed down evenly and thinly. Repeat for the remaining tortillas.

  4. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the vegetable mixture onto half of each tortilla. Fold the other half of the tortilla over the mixture and pinch the seam to close it. Repeat for the rest of the pastelitos.

  5. Line a large plate with paper towels and set near the stove. In a large pot over medium heat, warm the vegetable oil until it registers 350°F on an instant-read thermometer. Add the pastelitos, two at a time, and fry until they turn golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Using tongs, transfer the pastelitos to the prepared plate to drain and cool.

  6. Enjoy the pastelitos on their own, or with curtido and salsa de tomate.

Courtesy SalviSoul Cover Photo

Reprinted from The SalviSoul Cookbook: Salvadoran Recipes and The Women That Preserve Them by Karla Tatiana Vasquez © 2024. Photographs copyright © 2024 by Ren Fuller. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

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Karla Vasquez's Salvadoran Pastelitos de Hongos Recipe

6 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup White Onion, minced
  • 3 cloves Garlics, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 10 ounces Cremini Mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 5 teaspoons Chicken Bouillon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 4 1/2 cups Water
  • 2 cups Diced Potatoes, peeled
  • 1 cup Carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup Roma Tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Green Beans, chopped
  • 2 cups Masa Harina
  • 2 teaspoons Achiote Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 2 cups Vegetable Oil, or peanut oil
  • 1 large pinch Curtido, or salsa de tomate (optional, for serving)

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until it shimmers. Add the onion, garlic, and salt and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon of the chicken bouillon, the oregano, and ½ cup of the water and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is mostly absorbed, about 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a mixing bowl.

  2. In the same pan over medium-high heat, combine the potatoes, carrot, tomato, green beans, 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and let the vegetables simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to the same bowl containing the mushroom mixture.

  3. In a large bowl, combine the masa harina, achiote powder, baking soda, and remaining 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon. Slowly add the remaining 2 cups water to the masa harina and knead until the dough reaches the consistency of Play-Doh. (When the dough is pressed, its sides should not tear.) Pour some water into a small bowl and keep it handy for moistening the dough. Roll 1½ to 2 ounces of masa between the palms of your hands until it forms a completely round ball. Then start flattening it with the fingertips of your dominant hand. Rotate the round slightly so that it gets pressed down evenly and thinly. Repeat for the remaining tortillas.

  4. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the vegetable mixture onto half of each tortilla. Fold the other half of the tortilla over the mixture and pinch the seam to close it. Repeat for the rest of the pastelitos.

  5. Line a large plate with paper towels and set near the stove. In a large pot over medium heat, warm the vegetable oil until it registers 350°F on an instant-read thermometer. Add the pastelitos, two at a time, and fry until they turn golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Using tongs, transfer the pastelitos to the prepared plate to drain and cool.

  6. Enjoy the pastelitos on their own, or with curtido and salsa de tomate.

Notes

Reprinted from The SalviSoul Cookbook: Salvadoran Recipes and The Women That Preserve Them by Karla Tatiana Vasquez © 2024. Photographs copyright © 2024 by Ren Fuller. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

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Category:
Mushrooms
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Related Recipes:
Mushroom Recipes, Cookbook Recipes
Recipe Yields:
12-14 pastelitos
Related Posts:
Published:
Author: Eric Ginsburg
Recipe Yields: 12-14 pastelitos

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 2 pastelitos
Servings Per Recipe 6

Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 612
Calories 890

% Daily Value*
118%
Total Fat 77g
46%
  Saturated Fat 9g
27%
Sodium 641mg
14%
Total Carbohydrate 42g
7%
  Dietary Fiber 6g
  Sugars 2g
19%
Protein 10g

* Percent Daily Value are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
** Nutrition Facts are estimated based on ingredients and data provided by Fat Secret. Please consult a doctor if you have special dietary needs.

Eric Ginsburg is the Editor of Food Fanatic. He's served as an editor at three newspapers and written for a wide range of publications, including Bon Appétit, Serious Eats, Wine Enthusiast, Southern Living, and Eater Carolinas. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. Follow him on Instagram.

Eric Ginsburg

About Eric

Eric Ginsburg is the Editor of Food Fanatic. He's served as an editor at three newspapers and written for a wide range of publications, including Bon Appétit, Serious Eats, Wine Enthusiast, Southern Living, and Eater Carolinas. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. Follow him on Instagram @eric_ginsburg.

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