Shrimp and Poblano Chile Tamales

"From Our shrimp and poblano-chile tamales are wonderful party fare because they freeze so well. Plus, we added Mexican Chihuahua cheese, a buttery semisoft cheese that melts beautifully, to the filling. Dried corn husks are the traditional wrapping, but you can also wrap the tamales in foil. Prep time: 1 hour. Cooking time: 40 to 45 minutes. Degree of difficulty: moderate. Low-calorie."
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Ready In:
28 tamales




  • Note: Chihuahua cheese available in most Hispanic markets, Queso Fresco available from Mozzarella Company 800-798-2954.
  • Cover corn husks with hot tap water in a shallow baking dish.
  • Bring chicken broth, creamed corn and milk just to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Gradually add broth mixture to masa harina in a medium bowl, stirring with a wooden spoon, until well blended; cool.
  • Heat broiler.
  • Line a broiler pan with foil.
  • Arrange poblanos and bell pepper on prepared pan and broil 4 inches from heat 10 to 15 minutes, turning until skins are evenly charred.
  • Wrap in foil and let stand 15 minutes.
  • Peel, seed and dice chile and bell pepper; transfer to a medium bowl.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add onions and cook 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add garlic, reduce heat to medium and cook 1 minute more.
  • Cool, then combine with chile, bell pepper and uncooked shrimp.
  • Beat lard, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a large mixer bowl, until smooth.
  • Gradually beat in masa harina mixture by spoonfuls, beating well after each addition.
  • Continue to beat 5 to 8 minutes more, until mixture is light and fluffy.
  • Stir in shrimp mixture and cheese (mixture will be stiff).
  • Drain and rinse corn husks; keep covered with a damp towel (or follow foil directions below).
  • Flatten one husk on work surface (overlapping two husks if small).
  • Spoon 1/4 cup filling in center of husk.
  • Spread into a 3-inch long log.
  • Roll up lengthwise.
  • Secure each end with string.
  • Repeat with remaining husks and filling.
  • To prepare tamales with foil: Cut each foil piece in half to make two 6x9-inch rectangles.
  • Spread 1/4 cup filling in center of each rectangle.
  • Fold all sides in to form 2x3-1/2-inch packets.
  • (Can be made ahead. Place tamales in resealable plastic storage bags and freeze up to 1 month.) Place steamer rack in Dutch oven over 1 inch of water.
  • Arrange tamales (unthawed if frozen) in rack.
  • Cover; bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and steam 30 minutes.
  • Serve with Guacamole, if desired.
  • Makes 28 tamales.
  • (Nutrition facts are based on 1 tamale per serving.) yMasa Harina: A variety of flour made from specially processed corn.
  • Used in tamales or to thicken sauces.
  • Can be found in the baking section of most supermarkets.
  • yyChile Poblano: Mild to medium-hot fresh chile.
  • Popular for stuffing; usually roasted.

Questions & Replies

  1. BTW, I also read the previous question from another guest who was confused. I also read that she/he understood after reading recipe again. I still don't understand. There is no shrimp/cheese/chili "filling"? It is incorporated into the masa?
  2. I am so confused!!!!! I have read recipe numerous times. I still don't understand. Do you incorporate the shrimp, cheese, chili mixture into the masa dough? If you do, this means there is no "filling" in the middle? Is that correct?
  3. Sorry. I am confused. It says in the in beginning to add the broth mixture to the Masa Harina. Later after broiling the veggies and sauteing in the garlic and onions you add the shrimp. This mixture is then added to the Masa Harina. Then....the recipe states to put a spoonsful of the mixture in the center of the Masa Harina. So I guess that means you do not mix all of the shrimp mixture into the Masa Harina? And if that is true, how much reserve should I leave out of the Masa Harina to spoon in later?


  1. You must make these tamales. I'm a tamale-novice and these exceeded my expectations. I was skeptical about the addition of canned cream corn, but it worked really well in the dough, adding a slight sweetness, boosting the corn flavor. The roasted poblanos and bell pepper added a wonderful smoky flavor without overpowering the shrimp. Because the vegetables and shrimp are mixed into the masa dough, rather than concealed in the center, the tamale seems to be studded with bits of red, green and pink. Really festive! I received many compliments on these. Thanks for a great recipe.
  2. This recipe was great! Very easy to make, and freezes well. These were the hit of our tamale party! I will definitely be making these again! Thank you so-ooo much for this recipe!
  3. This was my first attempt at ANY sort of tamale - my Belizean mother-in-law was really impressed! I thought they were absolutely delish, and so did the whole family. I'm going to make them for a dinner party soon. They were fairly simple for somebody who never did tamales before.
  4. Mariposa, thanks for posting this recipe. Excellent, with excellent instructions!



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