Servings: 20

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Spicy Chicken or Cheese Tamales


1 package corn husks
1 recipe masa dough (see below)
Filling (see below)
Red Chile Sauce

Masa Dough
3/4 to 1 cup warm water
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups masa harina (corn flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Spicy Chicken Filling
3 to 4 cups cooked shredded chicken
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 shallots, peeled, chopped, and sautéed
1 cup Red Chile Sauce

Cheese Filling
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup minced onion
1 or 2 fresh jalapeno or Serrano chiles, seeded, stems removed, and finely chopped


Soak corn husks as directed on package label.

Masa Dough
Beat 3/4 to 1 cup warm water and shortening in bowl till fluffy. With a wooden spoon blend in the masa harina, salt, and enough warm water to make a mixture the consistency of peanut butter. Cover mixture with a damp cloth; chill while preparing fillings.

For either filling, stir together all ingredients until well mixed. Each makes about enough for 20 tamales.

To assemble tamales, lay one large corn husk or two smaller husks, overlapping, on a large flat surface, wide ends facing you. Spread 2 tablespoons of masa dough over husk, spreading it all the way to the right edge, but leaving 1 inch of husk uncovered on other edges.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon of filling down center of husk. Wrap up tamale by folding right edge over filling, then folding left edge over and rolling up to completely encase filling. Fold top and bottom ends over or cut two thin strips from another husk to tie the ends like a party favor.

Boil water. Reduce heat to simmering, cover, and steam tamales 45 minutes.

Note: Cooked tamales can be frozen up to six weeks, wrapped in foil. Steam to reheat.