Tamales De Pollo - Chicken Tamales

"Combined from several different recipes."
photo by a food.com user photo by a food.com user
Ready In:
2hrs 30mins
25-40 tamales




  • Preparing the corn husks:

  • Remove the corn husks from their package.
  • Place into a large bowl and pour boiling water over them.
  • Since they will float, to keep them submerged, set another bowl full of water on top of them.
  • Leave for several hours or overnight.
  • Chicken Tamale Filling:

  • Heat oil in a large heavy skillet and saute the yellow onions, garlic, green onions, tomatillos, bell pepper, and all chiles, until they are soft and hot but not yet beginning to brown.
  • Add the chicken meat, cilantro, chili seasoning, lime juice and zest, and sugar.
  • Stir well.
  • Add enough chicken stock, broth or bouillon to stand at least an inch deep over the top of the ingredients.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a rapid simmer and then add salt and pepper to taste and adjust seasonings.
  • You may wish to add more sugar and lime juice or a pinch of dry chili flakes if you want a bit more heat.
  • Cool and use to make tamales now or freeze for use later.
  • Basic Tamale Dough:

  • Mix the masa, baking powder, salt, and cumin thoroughly together.
  • In another bowl, beat the butter and fat together until very light and creamy, about 5 minutes.
  • Gradually beat in 3 tbsp of masa mixture, then 3 tbsp water until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
  • Continue beating in the masa and water, alternately, until the dough is very smooth and of spreading consistency, about 5 minutes.
  • Cooking and Making the Tamales:

  • When ready to begin folding your tamales, remove the corn husks from the water, drain, and pat dry.
  • Put in a plastic bag to stay moist and remove only a few at a time as you need them.
  • Lay one corn husk on a flat surface in front of you.
  • Put about a tbsp of prepared masa dough on the corn husk and flatten with the back of the spoon.
  • The dough should be no more than 1/4 inch thick.
  • Leave at least a 1/2 inch border on each long side of the corn husk that has no masa and at least 1-1/2 inches at the top and bottom.
  • Put about a tbsp of the chicken filling in a line down the center of the masa.
  • Bring the 2 long sides of the corn husk over the masa and filling and overlap them a bit.
  • Then fold the two ends over.
  • You may leave the tamale like this and simply put it in the steamer, folded side down or you may use thin strips of corn husk or thin kitchen twine to tie them shut.
  • The most convenient way to cook tamales is a conventional steamer. However, you can improvise.
  • Fill the bottom of the steamer with water up to the level indicated and bring to a boil.
  • Line the top of the steamer with corn husks, covering the bottom and sides well.
  • Stack the tamales upright, with the tied down flaps upwards.
  • For the best results they should be packed firmly but not tightly, because the husks swell out as the dough cooks.
  • Cover the tamales with more corn husks.
  • Cover the top of the steamer with a thick cloth (a piece of old toweling is best) to absorb condensation.
  • Cover the steamer with a tight fitting lid.
  • Let the tamales cook for about 2-1/2 to 3 hours over a medium flame.
  • Keep the water bubbling, but not boiling violently.
  • To test the tamales for doneness, remove one from the center, and one from the side of the steamer.
  • As you open the husk, the dough should come away easily from the husk and be completely smooth.
  • Once cooked, tamales are very good tempered.
  • They are great to eat right away and they also do very well being gently reheated in an ungreased frying pan.
  • Just keep turning them so that they are heated through evenly and the husk browns but does not burn.
  • They can be refrigerated and will keep well stored that way for about a week.
  • However, it is best to freeze them.
  • To reheat, they can be wrapped in foil, put into a 350°F oven still frozen, and heated through for about 30 minutes.

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  1. As promised, I remade this recipe. On 7/7/05 My original review was: "Hoooo Weee this has a kick to it! I loved it, (I love all things hot and spicy) but it got mixed reviews from the my host family. None of them actually disliked it, but I guess everyone has a different tollerence for heat (spicy heat). I will make this again using more mild ingredients and re-review this. For me, personally I really enjoyed it." This time I made 2 versions - one hot and spicy for me (which was perfect) using hot peppers & chilies and staying true to the recipe. And another version using less heat and milder peppers for the rest of my family. This time they were able to taste the seasoning and flavors and weren't overcome by the heat. The first time I made this I was selfish and didn't take their tollerance for spicy into consideration before making this. Bottom Line: You can make this either very hot (spicy hot) or you can cut down on the heat for more delicate tastebuds by using more mild peppers. This time it got 5 stars all around from me for the Hot version and from my family for the mild/medium version. Please take this option into consideration before making this so as not to unfairly rate this recipe. Thanks Mariposa for the very delish and very flexible recipe.



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