top of page

My Latino Recipes: Tamales Oaxaqueños - Mexican Foods

Tamales are a very common dish in Latin America. They are prepared in different ways depending on the region. The base of a tamal includes cornmeal dough filled with meat, chicken, chili, or other ingredients, wrapped in corncob or banana leaves and steamed or baked. We share this recipe preparing tamales using banana leaves which is typical from Oaxaca (Mexico).


For the filling:

2 defatted chicken breasts.

1 large white onion.

4 green tomatoes

2 green chilies (you can also use frozen yellow pepper)

1 branch coriander

1 clove of garlic

Salt to taste.

For the dough:

30 frozen banana leaves (for every kilo of dough)

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup of lard

12 tomato skin (boil and remove the skin)

1 roll pabilo to tie the tamales.

Salt and pepper to taste

Step-by-step Preparation

Preparation of the dough for tamales

  1. In a saucepan, boil the tomato skin with a quarter of a liter of water. Reserve, without removing the water.

  2. In another pot, beat the butter over very low heat until it has a smoother texture and a whitish color.

  3. Gradually pour the flour into the pot with butter, continue beating so that it mixes evenly. Add the baking powder to the flour.

  4. Likewise, while beating the mixture, add a touch of salt, then the chicken broth, followed by a the cup of water in which you boiled the tomatoes.

  5. Continue moving the dough to achieve a very smooth and consistent texture. If necessary, soften the dough more with water from the cooking of the tomato skin.

  6. Thaw the banana leaves and spread out on a table.

  7. Place a ball of dough in the center of each leaf, and spread to form a thick film on the center of the leaf.

  8. Incorporate the filling.

Preparation of the filling of the tamales

  1. Peel the onion and garlic. Cut the first into about four or eight pieces.

  2. Wash the tomatoes, cilantro, and chili peppers.

  3. In a pot with water, cook the tomatoes, chili peppers, onion, garlic and breasts over medium heat, with a little salt, until the chicken is cooked.

  4. Separate the chicken and reserve.

  5. Blend the rest of the cooked ingredients (without the water), plus the coriander leaves.

  6. Shred the chicken meat with a couple of forks, to obtain long and thin ribbons.

  7. Toss the chicken bones and add the shredded meat to the blended sauce.

  8. Taste the mixture, and if necessary, correct the taste with more salt.

  9. Once the filling is ready:

  10. Arrange a portion in the center of each banana leaf covered with its respective film of dough.

  11. Cover the filling with another bit of dough, then fold and close the sheet, and finally tie it.

  12. Arrange the tamales vertically in a large pot or steamer. Steam cook to the point where the sheet no longer sticks to the tamale batter. The process takes about three hours, with the steamer covered.

  13. Serve and enjoy!


bottom of page