Traditional Mexican Tamales Traditionelle mexikanische Tamales Tamales Tradicionales Mexicanos


Traditional Mexican Tamales

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Traditional Mexican Tamales

Tamales are traditional throughout the year in Mexico, but there is one special day of the year when they are prepared as part of a celebration: After the day of Kings and the usual roscón (round cake with a hole in the middle). It is tradition to put a small figurine inside the cake and if someone finds a monkey or child figure on the 2nd of February he or she must invite others to eat tamales. Many people often buy them pre-made, but we propose different recipes to prepare at home that day or any other day with these traditional delicacies of Mexican cuisine.

Pork Leg Tamales


For the Dough:

  • 1kg of Corn dough
  • 250g of vegetable or pork lard
  • 3 Ancho Chilies
  • 1 tbsp. of Baking Powder
  • 1 tbsp. of salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. of oregano

For the Filling :

  • 700g Leg of Pork
  • 1 Poblano Chili
  • 3 Tomatoes
  • 1/2 an Onion
  • 1 Potato
  • 2 carrots
  • 25-30 Maize leaves
  • 1 tsp. of pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. of oregano
  • 1 tsp. of salt


For the dough:

  1. Moisten the corn leaves to hydrate them. Leave them until they are soft.
  2. Put the butter in a saucepan until it melts and turns slightly golden.
  3. Rinse chilies, remove the seeds and veins, and boil in a little water for about 5 minutes or until tender.
  4. Blend chilies with the same boiling water, oregano and garlic.
  5. Mix the corn dough with the butter, mashed chilies, baking powder and salt with the help of a hand or blender. It should be a smooth consistency and not stick to your fingers.
  6. Roll out the dough on a piece of corn, put some of the filling on top, fold and tie with leaf cut corn strips.
  7. Place in a steamer and cook for about 1 hour and 30 min.

For the filling:

  1. Cook the pork leg with salt, pepper and oregano.
  2. Roast the poblano chile and let stand in a sealed bag. Remove the skin, seeds and cut into strips.
  3. Chop vegetables into sticks (carrots, potato and tomatoes)
    Slice the onion.
  4. Sauté the onion and other vegetables in a pan. Add the shredded pork meat, season with salt and pepper.
  5. Use as a filling for tamales.

Corn tamales stuffed with pork and poblano chili


For the filling:

  • 1/4 kg. of poblano chilies
  • 1/4 kg. of Pork tenderloin
  • 3 Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 2 tbsp. of pork or vegetable fat (lard)
  • Salt (sufficient amount)

For the dough:

  • 25 Baby corns and leaves
  • 1 ½ cups of vegetable lard
  • 1 tbsp. of salt
  • 1 tbsp. of Baking Powder


For the filling:

  1. Cook the pork with salt and pepper.
  2. Roast the poblano chilies, place in an airtight bag and let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the skin, seeds and veins from the chilies then chop into strips.
  4. Roast the tomatoes and blend with onion.
  5. Heat the butter and sauté the poblano chilies and previously shredded beef. Add tomato sauce and season with salt. Bring to the boil and simmer until thickened.

For the dough:

  1. Remove the leaves of corn, wash and set aside.
  2. Shell and grind the corn beans in a blender or processor.
  3. Melt the butter and add the salt, ground corn and baking powder. Mix vigorously until it forms a thick dough.
  4. Spread on a piece of corn, place the filling on top, fold and close.
  5. Place in a steamer and cook for about 1 hour and 30 min.

Uchepos (Sweet corn tamales)


  • 6 soft Corns
  • 6 cups of milk
  • 1¾ cups of sugar
  • 1 tsp. of bicarbonate
  • 1 tsp. of Vanilla extract
  • 20 corn leaves


  1. Moisten the corn leaves in warm water until soft.
  2. Shell the corn and blend with milk.
  3. Strain the mixture and place in a saucepan.
  4. Cook over a medium heat and add sugar, baking soda and vanilla.
  5. Leave on medium or low heat until the mixture has a thick, dense consistency.
  6. Dry the corn leaves and place the corn dough on top.
  7. Wrap and refrigerate - no need for steaming.

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5 Reviews “Traditional Mexican Tamales”

on 09/02/2016
These traditional tamales sound really delicious, but unfortunately ingredients such as "maize leaves", "poblano chilies", etc. are a little difficult to obtain here in Europe... Would normal chilies be sufficient? And is there any kind of leaf we could use as an alternative?
on 13/01/2015
Wow, great aricle. I love, love LOVE mexican food, traditional style. The only problem I feel sometimes is that it is so often heavy. Even these tamales sound pretty heavy. I love making them with Mexican rice, though, which is more heavy food but it si SO good! Thanks for the wonderful recipes, I can't wait to try them!
on 05/02/2014
I once tasted a delicious recipe made with chicken, chicken tamales, and now I am starving to taste them again, but I haven't visited Mexico in a while and I think I won't, so maybe it is time to experiment a little and try one of these recipes but including the ingredient that I want, maybe I invent a new recipe! just imagine that!
on 05/01/2014
The pork tamales sound very nice, my family love the pork and they enjoy when I try this ingredient for different things and dishes, so now I will surprise them with the tamales, it is so good to have a mexican uncle that has a steamer for tamales!
on 05/01/2014
I have just heard of the famous and traditional tamales that you can buy in almost all places that sell Mexican food but they do not sell these recipes and those sound pretty delicious, the only thing I do not have is the steamer for tamales so probably the only recipe I can do is the last one.

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