This Indonesian-style Vegetable Pastel is enclosed in a pastry exterior, filled with savory vegetarian filling, and then fried until crisp and golden brown. They are perfect for breakfast, appetizers, or as a snack.
Pastel is an Indonesian street food delicacy. It is a popular fried snack you can easily find in Indonesian traditional markets.
These fried pastries are often sold filled with various savory fillings. Vegetable Pastel is the most common filling with vermicelli, carrots, potatoes, and sometimes hard-boiled eggs inside
The filling is enclosed in flaky buttery pastry dough. Then, it is deep-fried until golden brown and crispy. Somehow, they may resemble empanada in some ways, but it is crisper and crunchier.
Make several batches in a go and keep them in the freezer so you can have them whenever you want. Serve with bird’s eye chilis if you like them spicy or with peanut sauce.
What is Pastel?
Pastel consists of a half-circle thin-crust pastry exterior filled with assorted fillings and fried in vegetable oil. It is a type of kue made of thin pastry crust, with a filling of meat, vegetables, rice vermicelli, and sometimes boiled eggs, then deep-fried in vegetable oil.
It is consumed as a snack and commonly sold in Indonesian traditional markets. This dish is very popular during iftar for Ramadan.
Although the origins of this snack are uncertain, the snack is believed to have originated due to the various influences of Portuguese empanada and Indian samosa during the colonization era.
Ingredients You Need
- All-purpose flour. Or you can also use cake flour for crisper pastry.
- Salt. To taste.
- Margarine. You can also use butter to substitute margarine, but it will not be as flaky as using margarine.
- Warm water. We use warm water to speed the mixing time because the flour absorbs more hot water than cold water.
- Vegetable oil. For stir-frying.
- Garlic. For aromatic flavor and aroma.
- Shallots. Shallots used in Southeast Asian cuisine tend to be small with a red exterior and white interior. Unlike western shallots which tend to be larger, Indonesian shallots are small and sweeter in flavor. The individual cloves resemble garlic cloves with pointed tapered ends. You can substitute shallots with 1 onion if you don’t have them.
- Carrots. Make sure you dice them small or they will take a longer time to cook.
- Potatoes. Dice them with the same size as the carrots.
- Dried vermicelli noodles. Soak in hot water for 2-3 minutes to soften. Drain the water before using.
- Scallions. You can also use green onion if you don’t have scallions.
- Leaf celery. Leaf celery or Chinese celery is a variety of celery cultivated in East Asian countries. The stems are thinner than those of Western celery. Also, unlike Western celery, the leaves are used as well as the stalks. If you don’t have leaf celery or don’t like its flavor, you can completely omit it.
- Hard-boiled eggs. Eggs are completely optional.
- Seasonings. Salt, sugar, chicken bouillon powder, and white ground pepper for taste.
For the filling, you can actually use whatever you want and whatever is left in your fridge. You can also substitute some carrots or potatoes with meat, such as chicken and beef.
How to Make Vegan Vegetable Pastel
This Vegetable Pastel recipe is a vegetarian recipe, but you can easily turn it into a vegan dish. All you need to do is to substitute the chicken bouillon powder with mushroom bouillon powder or just completely omit it. In addition, remove the hard-boiled eggs in the filling. That’s it!
How to Make
- Make the filling first. Stir-fry minced garlic and shallots until fragrant. Add diced carrots and potatoes along with a little bit of water. Stir-fry until they are cooked. Season with salt, sugar, chicken bouillon powder, and ground white pepper. Add finely chopped scallions and leaf celery to finish. Turn off the heat and let the filling cool completely before using it.
- Make the dough for the skin. Mix all-purpose flour, salt, and melted margarine. Add water gradually and mix until dough forms. Knead with your hand until the dough is smooth. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 25 even pieces or about 30 gr each. Roll thinly with a rolling pin until the dough is about 5-inch/12 cm in diameter.
- Fill with 1 tbsp of filling and add a slice of hard-boiled egg.
- Fold and press the edges. Pleat the edges with your thumb.
- Deep-fry on low-medium heat until golden brown.
How to Store
Make pastels ahead and store them in the fridge for later use so that you can enjoy them whenever you want. Here is how to store them properly:
- Raw Version. Wrap and shape the pastels per instructions in the recipe card. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or plastic, not touching each other. After they are frozen, you can transfer them into a freezer-friendly ziplock bag or airtight container.
- Half-Cooked Version. Deep-fry the raw pastels in oil just until half-cooked. The skin should still be pale white. Remove from the oil and cool completely before transferring them into a freezer-friendly airtight container.
You can store pastels in the freezer for up to 3 months. Before serving, do not thaw and fry them frozen. Fry on low-medium heat. Do not use high heat or else when the skin is already golden brown, the inside is still cold.
How to Serve
These Vegetable Pastes are great eaten hot or at room temperature. Eat pastels with a small bite of fresh bird’s eye chili if you like them super spicy. Or enjoy these delicious snacks with peanut sauce on the side.