Tomorrow we celebrate Día de la Candelaría, Candlemas Day, in Mexico and that means that it is time to pay the tamales debt if you happened to find the little doll in the Rosca de Reyes on Epiphany Day.
In Mexico there are a lot of different tamales fillings as well as different type of tamales, in the north of Mexico, we flavour our masa with Guajillo chilli and the most popular filling is beef and vegetables, in the south the tamales are wrapped with banana leaves. There are tamales colados, sweet dough tamales, the list is almost endless.
Here at home we made two types of tamales: chicken and mole and halloumi and poblano strips, so I want to share these two recipes with you. It is a very easy recipe to make, from an easy tamal dough to an easy filling.
Let me know if you make them 🙂 I would love to hear if you like it.
Tamales de Mole y de Rajas con Queso
- Large steamer
- baking spatula
- a large mixing bowl
- 1 saucepan
- 1 small bowl
Chicken Mole filling
- 100 g mole homemade or from a jar
- 4 chicken thighs no skin and bone
- ½ white onion peeled
- 1 garlic clove peeled
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cups water
Rajas con Queso filling
- 1 block halloumi cheese cut in long strips
- 2 large poblano peppers charred, peeled, seeds and stem off, cut in strips
- 1 kg nixtamalized corn flour
- 300 g pork lard melted or vegetable oil
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 L chicken stock slightly salted
- 50 large tamal husk leaves
To make the chicken mole
- Cook the chicken thighs in water for around 30 minutes, add 1/2 onion, 1 garlic clove and 1 tsp salt to season it.
- Once they are cooked, let them cool down and then shred them. Set aside.
- Cook the mole according to the instructions on the jar. Then add the shredded chicken thighs and set aside.
To prepare the Rajas con Queso
- Charr the poblanos until blacken, place them in a plastic bag for 10 minutes to sweat.
- Remove from the bag and take off the skin, seed and stem. Cut into strips and set aside.
- Cut the halloumi into long thin slices. Set aside.
To make the Masa for the tamales
- First of all, make sure to separate the corn husk leaves, check if they are cleaned and discard any corn leaves with holes. Place them in large bowl, pour hot water over them until they are covered. Leave them to soak for 30 minutes. Then remove them from the water just before start assembling the tamales.
- To make the masa, place the corn flour into a large bowl. Add the salt, garlic salt, baking powder and mix all these ingredients with the masa harina. After, make a well in the middle of the masa harina and add the melted and warm pork lard. With the help of a fork, mix it with the flour.
- Then add the warm chicken stock and warm water and mix with your hands. Once all the ingredients are combined, make sure no lump are left in the dough. The masa should be quiet moist. It is ready to make the tamales
To make the Tamales
- To make a tamal, grab a corn husk leave, by now, they should be out of the water and flexible, but not too wet. Place it over the worktop, smooth side up. Take a little bit more than a table spoon ofl dough and using a plastic spatula press and spread the dough on the corn husk leave, making sure it is a bit thicker than one pence coin. Then add the topping of your choice.
- Then grab one end of the corn husk and bring it to the middle, then the other end, making like a tight taco, making sure the dough wraps the filling. Fold it from the bottom and place it standing up on a large bowl, so the filling stays inside. Make half of the dough with chicken mole and the other half with the rajas con queso.
- Once all the tamales are ready. Pour some water in a steamer and add some salt. Place some corn husk leave on the bottom and place the tamales up right. Put the lid on and cover with foil, to make sure it is properly sealed. Bring the water to a boil and turn the heat all the down to simmer the water.
I would love to hear if you liked this recipe, tag me on social media #mexicanfoodmemories to see your creations. And if you want to learn to make this recipe and more, join me in one of my Mexican Cooking Classes in North London.