Tamales are Mexican steamed corn dumplings. Traditional for Christmas and parties. Very flavorful and not boring.

Potato Filling

  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 poblano chili, chopped
  • 1/4 cup corn
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1/4 cup potato water, vegetable broth or other liquid
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Bean Filling

  • 2 cups black beans
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • corn husks, soaked, or banana leaves


  • 1/2 kilo masa (from tortelleria) or 3 cups corn flour + 2-1/2 cups water
  • 1 guajillo chili, toasted
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp not chicken spice mix
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Soak and trim the corn husks, or banana leaves. Brown the onions and chilis until soft. Mash steamed potatoes and add cooked vegetables, spices with liquid to help mix spices into filling mixture. Blend whole beans with spices in blender or by hand.

Over comal or stainless steel pan or pot, toast chili with tongs. Allow to cool and cut into pieces. Into blender add toasted chili pieces, vegetable broth, spice mix and salt, and blend. Into mixing bowl or pot with masa, add wet mixture and kneed together by hand. The result will be smoother and wetter than tortilla masa, to be easy to spread onto corn husks or banana leaves.

Into bottom half of wrapper, spoon and spread tamale dough mixture. Add spoonful of any filling. Fold sides over middle and fold top half over bottom. Stand up in steaming pot. Steam low heat 35-55m, depending on moistness of tamale dough.


  • Make whatever kind of filling you want.
  • Taste it and make sure it has flavor. If you like the taste of the filling, you will like the tamale.
  • Tamales can be savory or sweet. Chilis are traditional filling. Try banana or mango tamales!
  • You can use a few ceramic plates at the bottom of a large pot to make your own steamer.
  • Put a glass or cup in the middle, and arrange the tamales around the outside, to help the tamales stand up while cooking.