Chicken Tamales Recipe


  • Corn husks, approximately 35, soaked at least half an hour in warm water
  • 2 pounds fresh masa from a tortilleria or 3 cups of masa harina mixed with 2 cups water
  • 8 ounces vegetable shortening
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock, homemade or purchased (low-sodium)
  • 1 spicy roasted chicken, shredded
  • 1 large red onion, julienned
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, julienned
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Oil for saute

Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat. When hot add just enough oil to the bottom of the pan to lightly coat. Add onions and peppers and saute until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add reserved paste from spicy chicken preparation, and stock. Stir frequently and bring to a boil. Sauce with thicken slightly. Take off heat and pour over shredded chicken. Toss to distribute sauce evenly.

Combine shortening, salt, and baking powder and, using an electric mixer beat at medium-high speed until well shipped, about 1 minute. Add one-fourth of the masa to the shortening, beating between additions until all is incorporated. Add stocke and beat until dough is light and has a spreadable consistency.

Drain corn husks. Take 4 or 5 husks and tear into long strips to tie tamales. Place one corn husk on work surface, moisten fingers with water to prevent sticking. Take ¼ cup batter and form a rectangle in the center of the leaf, leaving a 1 inch boarder on bottom and sides. Spread 2 tablespoons chicken filling on the masa. Bring in both sides of the corn husk and wrap around to form a cylinder to completely surround the filling. Fold small tapered end up and tie closed with a strip. The top will remain open. Do not tie tightly and squeeze all filling out.

Set up a large pot as a steamer (pasta pot with vegetable steamer basket works well) with enough water in the bottom to reach but not flood steamer basket. Stand tamales on sealed ends. Bring water to a boil, cover pot and steam for 40 – 45 minutes. Tamales are done with husk peels easily from masa.