Coconut Paymee

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes


Appears in

Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad and Tobago

Sweet Hands

By Ramin Ganeshram

Published 2018

  • About

A delicious sweet version of paymee, like pastelles they are wrapped in banana leaves or corn husks and then steamed.


  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter
  • 2 tablespoon golden raisins (optional)
  • cups fresh or frozen grated unsweetened coconut
  • ½ cup grated pumpkin or butternut squash
  • 30 (8-inch) squares of banana leaf or corn husk
  • Kitchen twine


  1. Combine the masa harina, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a shallow frying pan and add the raisins, stirring constantly until plumped. Add the coconut and pumpkin or squash and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the coconut mixture to the dry ingredients. Gradually stir in about ¾ cup of water until you have a thick, moldable dough that is not too stiff.
  4. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the banana leaves or corn husks for 30 seconds or until they are soft and malleable. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  5. Place 2 heaping tablespoons of the dough on a banana leaf. Fold in the edges of the leaf so that the leaf completely covers the dough and tie with twine. Repeat with remaining dough and leaves.
  6. Place a steamer basket or colander in a 6-quart saucepan and add water to the base making sure the water level is below the bottom of the steamer basket. Place the wrapped paymee in the basket, arranging in a single layer. Bring the water to a simmer and steam for 45 minutes. Serve warm.

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