Tamales Colados

10 servings
2 hrs
1 hr
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Tamales Colados

Ingredients Batter
cups hot chicken broth
1 3/4
cups masa harina
cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted
cup lard or shortening
teaspoon salt
cups hot chicken broth
cup masa harina
teaspoons achiote paste
teaspoon dried Mexican oregano or regular oregano, crushed
fresh habanero chile pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced* (optional)
teaspoon salt
12-inch-square pieces banana leaf**
ounces smoked cooked chicken or turkey, shredded or chopped
medium slices tomato (1 to 2 medium)
cup coarsely snipped fresh cilantro


  1. In a blender combine 2-1/2 cups of the broth, 1 cup of the masa harina, and the pumpkin seeds. Cover and blend until smooth. Strain mixture through a medium-mesh sieve into a large saucepan. Repeat with the remaining 2-1/2 cups broth and the remaining 3/4 cup masa harina. Add lard and the 1 teaspoon salt to mixture in saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture thickens to the consistency of a cooked cereal.
  2. Sauce:
  3. In a blender combine the 2 cups chicken broth, the 1/2 cup masa harina, and the achiote paste. Cover and blend until smooth. Strain mixture through a medium-mesh sieve into a medium saucepan. Stir in oregano, chile pepper (if desired), garlic, and the 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture is thickened and bubbly (sauce will be thick). Set aside.
  4. Filling:
  5. On one banana leaf,** spread 1/2 cup of the batter to an 8x4-inch rectangle. Place 2 tablespoons of the chicken on the batter rectangle, near one short side. Top with 2 tablespoons of the sauce, one tomato slice, and a sprinkle of cilantro. Use the banana leaf to fold the unfilled side over the filled side, enclosing the filling. Fold sides of banana leaf under to make them even with the masa mixture. Tie shut with a strip of banana leaf or 100 percent cotton kitchen string. Repeat until all of the banana leaves are filled.
  6. Fill a large steamer with 2 inches of water.*** Line the steamer rack with some banana leaf scraps. Arrange tamales in the steamer, no more than two deep. Cover tamales with additional banana leaf scraps. Bring water to boiling. Cover tightly and steam for 1 hour, adding additional water as needed. When tamales are done, banana leaves should pull away from tamales (these tamales have a soft, pudding-like texture when done). If you prefer a firmer tamale, let them cool completely or cover and refrigerate overnight, then steam for 10 to 15 minutes to heat through before serving. Serve with salsa.

From the Test Kitchen


Because chile peppers contain volatile oils that can burn your skin and eyes, avoid direct contact with them as much as possible. When working with chile peppers, wear plastic or rubber gloves. If your bare hands do touch the peppers, wash your hands and nails well with soap and warm water.


Tamales can also be prepared on 12-inch square sheets of foil.


If you do not have a large steamer, fill a large stock pot with 2 inches of water. Place filled tamales on a rack that sits above the water or use a steamer basket. A 12-inch skillet can also be used with a steamer basket. If necessary and you have both options available, steam half of the tamales in the stock pot and the other half in a 12-inch skillet.

Nutrition Facts

(Tamales Colados)
    Per serving:
  • 289 kcal cal.,
  • 16 g fat
  • (5 g sat. fat,
  • 3 g polyunsaturated fat,
  • 6 g monounsatured fat),
  • 36 mg chol.,
  • 1243 mg sodium,
  • 25 g carb.,
  • 4 g fiber,
  • 2 g sugar,
  • 15 g pro.
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
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