Rajas con queso translates to strips with cheese. In this case the strips are green chile. The green chile can be of roasted poblano, Anaheim, jalapeños both roasted, fresh and pickled. I will share images of a few variations as you scroll down. The appearance of the masa will vary because they are from different preparations. Some prepared from corn flour(maseca) and some prepared with fresh ground masa.
What’s The Best Green Chile For Tamales?
Good question, but that is really up to you! The first green chile tamales I ever tasted were prepared by my sister Chris. Her green chile of choice was roasted Anaheim pepper strips. When it was difficult to find Anaheim peppers on the east coast, I went to the next pepper I could find, poblano. To keep them somewhat mild, I never added any extra jalapeño back then. These days, I make it easy and use a combination of fresh jalapeños and pickled jalapeños with queso Oaxaca and queso panela or fresco.
My Favorite Cheese For Tamales?
I’ve lost count on how many times I have prepared rajas con queso tamales. I have used every kind of cheese too! Lol! My favorites for this recipe are queso Oaxaca. When I remember to purchase it, I like combining some queso panela in there too. Many people favor pepper jack. That’s the beauty of cooking at home, we can use our favorite ingredients.
Prepared Corn Masa?
Living on the east coast in a small town, there were not many traditional Mexican ingredients readily available to me. I was thrilled when they finally started selling masa harina corn flour. Before that, I only ate tamales when I would visit my parents in Texas. I am happy with the masa harina version, but if I can get my hands on some fresh ground masa quebrada, I like to bring it home and prepare it myself.
Tamal De Rajas Con Queso(Green Chile and Cheese Tamal)
- 2½ cups masa harina
- 2½-3 cups warm chicken broth
- ¾ cup vegetable shortening or pork manteca lard
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large poblanos roasted and sliced into thin strips
- 5-6 large Fresh, roasted or pickled jalapeños sliced into strips
- 10 ounces Queso Oaxaca or Chihuahua cheese pull apart or sliced into 18 pieces
- 10 ounces queso panela sliced into 18 strips
- 15 to 20 corn husk for tamales
- parchment paper
- Salsa Verde see recipe link below
- Start by soaking the corn husk in some very hot water at least for an hour or more. Use a heavy bowl or pot to weigh down, set aside.
- In a large bowl combine the masa harina, salt, and baking powder. Gradually add in the warm chicken broth and work in until dough forms.
- In another glass bowl, add the manteca or shortening. Using an electric mixer, whip the manteca on high until it becomes creamy and fluffly. Gradually mix in the prepared masa. Add broth as needed until you get a thick, but spreadable masa. Taste for salt. If masa is too thick, work in a little more warm broth. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
- Prepare a large steamer pot with water, set aside. Once everything is in place, shake of excess water from husk. Take one husk (about 4 inches across) and using the back of a spoon spread enough masa to cover the surface(not too thick).
- If the spoon method seems too difficult, just use your fingers to press masa down onto surface of the husk. Add some cheese, rajas(poblanos, jalapeños) and about 1 tablespoon of salsa verde(if using)e . Fold in the sides, then fold down the flap and wrap tightly with deli paper sheet like a burrito. The paper keeps everything in place, adds some moisture, gives tamal better shape and keeps cheese from going all over steamer pot.
- Stand up in steamer pot previously filled with water, with open side up. Reserve extra salsa verde to garnish cooked tamales. If tamales don't fill pot, wedge a little foil paper into empty spaces. This will keep tamales upright as they steam.
- When ready, cover tamales with extra corn husks or paper and then a clean kitchen towel. Cover with lid and bring to a rapid boil on high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Steam for 1 hour. After 1 hour, you may need to add a little more hot water. Pull out 1 tamale and let cool for 6-7 minutes. If the husk pulls away easily from masa, they are done. My cheese tamales are ready after one hour of steady steaming time, If cheese gets overcooked it will turn dark and the texture becomes rubbery. It's so important to check them after one hour. Let tamales cool slightly in the covered pot before eating. Yields 15 to 18 large tamales. Garnish the tamales with extra salsa verde!
—The corn masa with real pork manteca getting mixed in. It adds so much flavor to the tamal.
The masa resting for a little while before we dig in and start assembling. This was a big batch of masa!
While we waited, Norma prepared for us a Spanish-Style tortilla. It was so delicious! In the backround we have a Oaxaca cheese and roasted poblanos(rajas) ready.
Here we are in the kitchen. Tamales on the way and working on prep for beans and rice to complete the dinner. Norma blogs @Platanos, Mangoes and Me! Traditional Puerto Rican dishes and much more. A very talented and creative cook! Check out her blog! Click onto picture to visit Norma’s blog. http://platanosmangoes.com/
Just a tablespoon of freshly made salsa verde goes inside the tamal.
A plate full of tamales for 8 to 10 people. In our house this would just be enough for my 3 brothers! Lol!