Saturday, January 14, 2012


Happy new year to the Daring Cooks! What a great way for us to start the new year..., this is the first time I will be making and tasting Mexican Tamales, it was really exciting! Some of the ingredients however were not available in my neck of the woods but I wanted to participate so bad that I went ahead and substituted. There was no tomatillos here so I used grilled tomatoes and peppers for my filling. I also couldn't find masa harina and so I dared to substitute it with cornmeal just because I didn't want to miss this challenge.

Green Chile Chicken Tamales

For filling:

1 pound (455 gram) tomatillos (can sub mild green chilies – canned or fresh)

*I used red bellpeppers and roasted them

4 – 3 inch (7½ cm) serrano chiles, stemmed and chopped (can sub jalapeno)

4 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 ½ tablespoons (22½ ml) Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 cups (480 ml) low sodium chicken broth

*I made my own chicken stock

4 cups (960 ml) (400 gm/14 oz) cooked and shredded chicken

2/3 cup (160 ml) (30 gm/1 oz) roughly chopped fresh cilantro (also known as coriander)
For the masa dough:

1 1/3 cups (320 ml) (265 gm/9⅓ oz) lard or vegetable shortening

*I used butter

½ teaspoons (7½ ml) (10 gm/1/3 oz) salt (omit if already in masa mixture)

1 ½ teaspoons (7½ ml) (8 gm/¼ oz) baking powder (omit if already in masa mixture)

4 cups (960 ml) (480 gm/17 oz) masa harina (corn tortilla mix)

*I used white cornmeal

1 ½-2 cups (360 ml – 480 ml) low sodium chicken broth

1. Preheat grill and place washed tomatoes, bellpeppers and chicken. Grill until the skin of the vegetables are almost black and peeling off. Grill chicken 5 minutes on each side. Set aside chicken and flake with fork. Peel the vegetables and take out the seeds. Put roasted peeled peppers and tomatoes with the garlic and process. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the pepper and tomatoes puree and boil, stirring continuously, for 5 minutes (it should turn thick like a paste). Add in the chicken broth, stir to mix well. Reduce heat to medium low and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally until mixture coats the back of a spoon and is reduced to about a cup (240 ml). Stir in the chicken and cilantro, season with salt.

2. Prepare the dough. In the bowl of an electric mixer, on medium speed, cream together the lard or vegetable shortening, baking powder and salt. Mix in the masa harina, one cup (240 ml) at a time. Reduce the mixer speed to low, gradually add in 1 ½ cups (360 ml) of the chicken broth. If the mixture seems too thick (you can taste it for moistness) add up to ½ cup (120 ml) more of the broth 2 tablespoons (30 ml) at a time. (The dough should be a cookie dough like texture). Take a large pot with a steamer attachment. Pour about 2 inches (5 cm) of water into the bottom of the pot, or enough to touch the bottom of the steamer.

*I also used banana leaves instead of corn husks for my tamales.

3. Unfold 2 corn husks onto a work surface. Take ¼ cup (60 ml) of dough and, starting near the top of the husk, press it out into a 4 inch (10 cm) square, leaving 2-3 inches (5 -7½ cm) at the bottom of the husk. Place a heaping tablespoon (15 ml) of the filling in a line down the center of the dough square. Fold the dough into the corn husk. And wrap the husk around the dough. Fold up the skinny bottom part of the husk and secure with a corn husk tie. Steam for about 40 minutes until the dough deepens in color and pulls away from the husk.Thank you Maranda for our first Daring Cooks' challenge for the year 2012, for the other Daring Cooks' versions of Tamales, click here. We have our own version of Tamales here in the Philippines and I will be posting it here soon :)


Aarthi said...

awesome it


Ruth Ellis said...

Your filling looks delicious - yum!

Suz said...

Cool! I was wondering if I should try it with cornmeal, but I wimped out. Yours looks gorgeous! Looking forward to the Filipino version of tamales. :)

Lyuba @ Will Cook For Smiles said...

Love the changes you've made. Great job! Come see mine at

shelley c. said...

I'm so glad you were able to find substitutions to make this work for you, because those look delicious! Awesome work, as always! :)

Sarah said...

These look great. Nothing wrong with substituting! And banana leaves are used in some parts of Mexico rather than corn husks.

My name is Andy. said...

Great job! They look yummy.

Don't Make Me Call My Flying Monkeys! said...

Beautiful tamales. What a great recipe. Nice job.

Rhonda said...

Your filling looks so light and fluffy. Your tamales look like they turned out perfect.

Kitchen Belleicious said...

oh i have been wanting to make tamales forever! been kinda intimidated but seeing yours I think I can handle it! You did a great job

INMA said...

Marvelous job, your filling looks amazing and the substitution work is so well done, congratulations.

Wok with Ray said...

I love eating tamales and your version looks delicious. Thank you for sharing the post!

Saz Ronmark said...

Oh wow you did really well! Using cornmeal was pretty clever and they look great.

Sara @ Belly Rumbles said...

They look fantastic! You did really well with the substitutions.

Cheap Ethnic Eatz said...

That is such a fun challenge. I never tried making them but I have tasted them...even in Peru from a street vendor. Brings back memories of travel. Glad you found awesome substitutes.

TaGa_Luto said...

Nice job on this Dahlia. I've been slacking from the challenges. Time is what's challenging. The holiday was just hectic. I really hope i can get back soon and do the challenges.

Good call on the cornmeal. That's what i use to sub masa harina as well.

Joy said...

Great job