Mexican Corn and Chicken Tamales

Author: Canadian Living

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.

  • Portion size 12 servings
  • Credits : Canadian Living Magazine: August 2004


  • 5 dried corn_husks (4 oz/125 g)
  • 4 ancho peppers
  • 4 pasilla chiles
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thigh
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can (19 oz/540 mL) tomato
  • 2/3 cups fresh corn kernels
  • 3 1/4 cups masa harina
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup softened lard
  • 1/3 cup softened butter
  • 1/3 cup softened olive oil
  • 2/3 cups chicken stock


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 facts <b>Per serving:</b> about

  • Sodium 438 mg
  • Protein 12 g
  • Calories 281.0
  • Total fat 11 g
  • Cholesterol 37 mg
  • Saturated fat 3 g
  • Total carbohydrate 34 g


  • Iron 31.0
  • Fibre 0.0
  • Folate 14.0
  • Sodium 0.0
  • Sugars 0.0
  • Calcium 9.0
  • Protein 0.0
  • Calories 0.0
  • Total fat 0.0
  • Vitamin A 15.0
  • Vitamin C 13.0
  • Potassium 0.0
  • Cholesterol 0.0
  • Saturated fat 0.0
  • Total carbohydrate 0.0
Share X

Mexican Corn and Chicken Tamales