Tested till perfect Mexican Corn and Chicken Tamales

Mexican Corn and Chicken Tamales

Corn husk-wrapped bundles of masa (ground hominy corn dough) stuffed with savoury chicken and chili sauce is a favourite in Latin America. You'll find corn husks, peppers and masa harina in Latin American stores. In corn season, use the outer husks of 12 large corn cobs — just skip the soaking step.

By The Canadian Living Test Kitchen

Source: Canadian Living Magazine: August 2004

  • rating starrating starrating starrating starrating star
  • Portion size 12


  • 5 5bundles dried corn_husks, (4 oz/125 g)
  • 4 4dried ancho pepperancho peppers or pasilla chiles
  • 1 lb 1lbboneless skinless chicken thighboneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp 1tbspvegetable oil
  • 1 1oniononions, chopped
  • 4 4clove garliccloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp 1tspground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp 1/4tspsalt
  • 1/4 tsp 1/4tsppepper
  • 1 can 1can(19 oz/540 mL) tomatotomatoes
  • 2/3 cup 2/3cupfresh corn kernelfresh corn kernels


  • 3-1/4 cups 3-1/4cupsmasa harina
  • 1-1/4 tsp 1-1/4tspsalt
  • 1/3 cup 1/3cupsoftened lard or butter or olive oil
  • 2/3 cup 2/3cupchicken stock
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In large bowl, soak corn husks in water for 12 hours; drain and pat dry. Then tear off 24 strips lengthwise from corn husks to use as ties.

In skillet, toast peppers over medium heat until pliable, about 3 minutes per side; let cool. Break open and discard seeds; cut off and discard stems. With rolling pin, crush peppers; set aside.

Dough: Meanwhile, in bowl, mix together masa harina, salt and 2 cups (500 mL) water to make stiff dough. Place plastic wrap directly on surface; let stand for 1 hour. Using electric mixer, beat in lard; beat in stock, in 2 additions, until smooth. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cut chicken into 1/2-inch (1 cm) chunks. In large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat; brown chicken in batches. Transfer to plate. Drain fat from pan; fry onion, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper over medium heat until softened, about 3 minutes.

Add crushed peppers and tomatoes, breaking up with potato masher. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is evaporated, about 1 hour. Add corn; let cool for 30 minutes.

Overlap long edges of husks to make twelve 8-inch (20 cm) squares.

Spread each square with 1/3 cup (75 mL) of the dough, leaving 2-inch (5 cm) border. Spoon 1/4 cup (50 mL) of the chicken mixture over dough, leaving 1/2-inch (1 cm) border. Bring up husks around filling so edges of dough meet. Bring husk borders together; fold to one side. Tie ends with strips. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.)

Place steamer rack in Dutch oven; line with any leftover husks or foil. Layer tamales on rack. Pour in enough water to come just under tamales. Cover and bring to simmer over medium heat; steam, refilling to maintain level, until husks easily peel away from dough, about 1-1/4 hours. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information Per serving: about

cal 281 pro 12g total fat 11g sat. fat 3g
carb 34g fibre 3g chol 37mg sodium 438mg

% RDI:

calcium 9 iron 31 vit A 15 vit C 13
folate 14
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