Tamales Verdes! Green tamales? Absolutely, why not? There is all kinds of tamales these days. I started this recipe for tamales verdes over a year ago and I am just getting back to it. Shame on me, lol! Just from my own experience, I think green food gets a bad wrap! No pun intended. Tamal wrapped in corn husk, get it? Ha, ha, ha!!
Every year, around thanksgiving, I begin to panic that I have’t come up with a new tamal flavor. Besides this green masa tamal, I have a few more up my sleeve. Don’t get too excited, I have several big jobs pending and may have to wait on the tamales.
Tamales Verdes. Green Chile Masa Tamal
Green chiles and cilantro give this already delicious tamal recipe even more flavor!
For Green Masa
- 1 large poblano pepper roughly chopped
- 1 large serrano or jalapeño pepper roughly chopped
- large handful of cilantro washed
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/3 cup water
- 3/4 cup Vegetable shortening or pork lard
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Salt to taste
- 2 1/2 cups masa harina corn flour
- 2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
You Will Also Need
- 2 TBS grapeseed or olive oil
- 1 small white onion sliced into thin strips
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 large jalapeños previously dry roasted, minced
- 2 roma tomatoes diced
- 2 poblanos previously roasted, peeled and sliced into strips
- 2 Anaheim peppers previously roasted, peeled and diced
- 12 ounces Queso fresco or panela
- 10 ounces Queso Oaxaca
- 36 corn husk for tamales previously softened in very hot water
For Green Masa
Remove the stems and seeds from the fresh poblano and serrano(or jalapeño). Roughly chop the peppers. if you would like a more green masa, add another poblano. You will just have to add a little less broth when you mix the masa.
To the blender add the peppers, cilantro, garlic, water and salt to taste. Blend on high until smooth. Set aside.
Whip the shortening (or manteca)until light and fluffy. Mix in the baking powder and salt Gradually mix ix the dry masa harina. Mix in the fresh green salsa you set aside. On low, gradually mix in a little of the warm broth at a time. If the masa is too thick, mix in a little more broth. Taste the masa for salt. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it set for at least 30 minutes.
Heat oil in skillet to medium. Add the onions, garlic and jalapeños. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes. Mix in the tomatoes, poblano strips and diced green Anaheim peppers. Taste for salt and pepper and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Let cool completely.
Fill and Cook
- Take one corn husk and shake off excess water. If the corn husk is wider than 5 inches, tear excess off from one side. It’s just easier to spread masa this way.
- Take about 2 tablespoons of masa and spread evenly down and across the bottom half of corn husk.
- Fold in the two side so the overlap as tight as you can without squeezing the ingredients out of the bottom. Then fold the top flap down. Stand the tamales up with open side up. Continue assembling until done,
- Prepare tamal steamer pot. Fill with water at the bottom. Insert steamer. Lay a few of the extra corn husk at the bottom. Transfer filled tamales, open side up into steamer pot.
- If you need to, tear off some foil paper and shape into a ball and wedge it into the pot so the tamales stay standing upright while they steam. Cover tamales with a few more of the extra softened corn husk.
- Cover the steamer pot and heat on high. Once it begins to steam rapidly, turn heat to right below medium. Continue steaming for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- Set timer for 45 minutes. When timer goes off, add a little more hot water to the steamer pot. Pour it in to one side of the pot, trying not to get the tops of the tamales wet.
After 90 minutes, remove steamer from the heat and let it sit covered for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The tamales need time to set up. They will firm up as they cool. Yields 18-24 medium tamales. Serve with your favorite salsa for garnish. Rice and beans on the side!
This photo is from the first time I prepared the tamales verdes. The masa was a bit looser and more green. They did set up good, but it was a little tougher to spread the masa. This is why it’s best to add the green chile salsa first then gradually add the broth until you reach the desired consistency. It should be smooth and easy to spread.
I wanted that vibrant green color of the fresh ingredients once blended. Even though they would steam and cook in the process, I still think the color is slightly brighter.
If you prefer not to use pork lard, you could use shortening or cooking oil. I use grapeseed oil because it’s a natural oil and it’s flavorless.
I like to combine a good melting cheese with a soft cheese. Queso Oaxaca and queso fresco shown above.
I did not add this in the instructions above, but I use deli paper sheets for my tamales. I used to only use them for the cheese filled ones, but now use them for all flavors. It keeps the tamal moist, yields a nice shaped tamal and keeps cheese from going all over the inside of the steamer pot. You simply wrap each tamal like a burrito with the deli paper. Steam as usual with open side up. Remove paper, if you like before serving tamales on a platter.