Colombian Tamales

"This is one of my husband's favorite "Comfort Foods" (he's Colombian). He even said I made it right the first time I tried! The process is relatively involved - overnight marinating is recommended and it steams for three hours. It is nothing like Mexican Tamales or "Hot Tamales". These are wrapped in banana leaves rather than corn husks, are much larger, and not as spicy hot."
photo by threeovens photo by threeovens
photo by threeovens
photo by threeovens photo by threeovens
photo by Mandi M. photo by Mandi M.
Ready In:
3hrs 15mins
6 packets




  • Prepare the marinade the night before you plan to make the tamales. Chop one bunch of green onions. Mince 2 garlic cloves. Combine, then add 1 teaspoon ground cumin and 1 packet of sazon. Rub mixture all over both chicken and ribs. Place meat in separate plastic baggies to marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Next make the “hogao,” a kind of sofrito. Combine chopped tomatoes, 1 bunch of chopped green onions, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 packet of sazon, 1/6 cup of chopped cilantro, olive oil and salt to taste in a skillet and saute until everything is soft and tender, kind of like a mush. Cool and refrigerate until ready to assemble tamales.
  • Now you can make the "pique" sauce. Combine 1 bunch chopped green onions, 3 cloves minced garlic, fresh lemon juice, remaining chopped cilantro, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, sugar, vinegar and salt to taste. Make this at least 2 hours before serving so flavors develop.
  • Prepare masa harina according to package directions except use chicken broth in place of water and salt to taste. This mixture should have flavor unlike an arepa which is more bland (my husband says the masa is the best part). It should be fairly moist, but still stay together like a dough when pressed. If it is too wet you can still use it, it is just more messy.
  • Now the hardest part is assembling them. Place about 1/4 cup of dough in the center of a banana leaf and spread it out. Put one rib and one chicken thigh piece on top. Place about 3 slices of the carrots, 6 potato sticks and 3 slices egg on top of the meat. Sprinkle with peas. Spoon 3 tablespoons of the "hogao" (sofrito) over all, then top with another 1/2 cup of spread out masa. This does not have to be uniform or even neat.
  • Next pull up the sides of the banana leaf to form a packet. Tie with kitchen string, but do not let any of the filling seep out (I told you it was hard). If the leaves break just reinforce with extra banana leaves. Wrap packet in aluminum foil. Repeat 5 times.
  • They are now ready to steam. Use a large Dutch oven with a steamer insert so the tamales do not touch the water in the bottom of the Dutch oven. These need to cook about 3 hours. You probably will have to replenish the water during the cooking process. Stack the tamales all the way to the top in the steamer pot and turn up the heat to high. If your pot does not hold all of them, just refrigerate or freeze the rest until you can steam them later. When you hear the water boiling furiously, turn the heat down to medium.
  • Serve the tamales on a section of banana leaf. With the "pique" sauce on the side to be drizzled on bites of the tamale.

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  1. 5+
  2. Thank you for this great recipe,it taste wonderful.I will make some for Christmas.


<p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>We may live without poetry, music and art;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We may live without conscience and live without heart;</p> <p>We may live without friends; we may live without books,</p> <p>But civilized man cannot live without cooks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He may live without books -- what is knowledge but grieving?</p> <p>He may live without hope-- what is hope but deceiving?</p> <p>He may live without love -- what is passion but pining?</p> <p>But where is the man that can live without dining?</p> <p>-- Owen Meredith</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I'm an all-American original, having lived in Hawaii, New York, Texas, South Carolina, and Miami. &nbsp;I also served 7 years in the US Army. &nbsp;My husband is from Bogota, Colombia and has also lived in the former Soviet Union. &nbsp;But now we are both in NY.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Tomasi enjoyes a bath!</p> <p><br /><a href=;current=tomas.jpg target=_blank><img src= border=0 alt=Photobucket /></a> <br />&nbsp;<br />Some of my recipes:</p> <p> <object width=480 height=360 data= type=application/x-shockwave-flash> <param name=data value= /> <param name=src value= /> <param name=wmode value=transparent /> </object> <a href= target=_blank><img src= alt=/ /></a><a href= target=_blank><img src= alt=/ /></a> <br />&nbsp;<br />&nbsp;<br />I also have the genealogy bug!&nbsp; I've been tracing my roots for at least 10 years.&nbsp; One branch came to America just after the Mayflower in the early 1600s.&nbsp; Others came in the early 1700s, late 1890s.&nbsp; So, my American roots run pretty deep and I am deeply patriotic.&nbsp; Just wish someone had thought to same me some land!</p>
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