Buzzings from a quilter who bumbles her way through life!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My Chicken Tamale Recipe!

I mentioned in my last post that I was making Chicken Tamales for my Thanksgiving crowd. They are NOT in place of turkey, but an addition to it that is customary here in south Texas because of our proximity to the Mexican border. Most tamales are made of beef or pork, but you can find tamales in many flavors. Sometimes with jalapeno pepper added, sometimes with a sweet filling instead of a meat. (For some reason, Blogger is insisting in inserting a "You May Also Like" between the recipe and this heading. I have done everything I know of to omit it, but can't, so just skip over it and go to the recipe!)
Linda's Chicken Tamales

Here is my chicken tamale recipe.My husband loves these! They are about half the calories as regular tamales, but are really delicious! There is nothing difficult about making these, but it is easier with two people so one can spread the masa on the corn shuck and one can put in the filling and roll the tamale. A third person would be nice, as they could stack them in the big pot for steaming. I usually make them all by myself, though. :o(   Oh, well, it's worth it! The Mexican families here have a Tamalada (I'm not sure if I'm spelling that right or not). They have a huge group in and they make a party of rolling tamales.
Linda's Chicken Tamales

About  5 lbs. bone in chicken breast , boiled, then deboned and skin removed, and chopped or shredded) ( save broth)
2 cans (7 oz. each) Herdez brand salsa verde
Mix the chopped, cooked chicken with the salsa verde.  You can let it marinate for an hour or so, or overnight, but you don't have to.

6 cups Maseca Corn Masa Mix or any corn masa mix
6 cups chicken broth (I use fat free or make my own by placing the broth in the refrigerator until the fat hardens, then remove the fat)
1 cup corn oil
2 1/2 tsp. salt
optional: I add about 2 tablespoons ground cumin
 Mix well.

Soak 1 bag of corn husks in hot water until soft. (You can buy these in the grocery store, but if you can't find them, I think you can use parchment)  Rinse and then soak in hot water. I leave mine in the water until I use them, but I rinse them off and dry them on a clean dish towel before spreading the masa on.
To assemble:
It is very hard to see the masa on the husk in the photo since they are the same color. You may need to click on the picture to enlarge it.
Lay a husk down with the cupped side up. Spread the masa in about a 2" x 4" square at one corner (use the wide side of the husk).

Put about 1 1/2 tablespoons chicken mixture across the center of the masa.

Bring the edge of the husk to the edge of the masa so that opposite edges of the masa meet.

Continue rolling.

Fold the end up.  When you  place in the steamer, place the open end up.

Place the tamales in a steamer (or a big pot with foil wadded up in the bottom to hold them out of the water). Pour water in the bottom of the pot to provide steam. (You will NOT be filling the pot with water!) I usually place a big wad of aluminum foil or a large canning jar in the center of the pot if I don't have enough tamales to fill it completely. You don't want the tamales to fall over. Keep the open end upright.
Steam about an hour. It could take a little longer if the masa or filling is very wet. Test doneness by taking out a tamale and cooling slightly. If it will release easily from the husk, it is done. 
Serve with a little more of the Salsa Verde. These freeze well. This recipe makes about 5 dozen tamales. NOTE: you must remove the husk before eating!


  1. These look yummy! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Gosh ... I'm so saving this! When I worked I had several Mexican co-workers. One of them used to bring me 'authentic' tamales on a semi-regular basis and they were so good! I want to make them for our family! Thank you!! :)

  3. Thanks, Linda. I made tamales one year...all by myself, too. I love them and will definitely give this recipe a try. It's something I'd like my daughter to experience. Lane

  4. Since my husband loves tamales I bet I can recruit him to help. I've pinned your recipe so I can try them - thanks. blessings, marlene

  5. They look delicious!! To my shame, I have never made a single tamale in my life. :(

  6. Thanks for sharing your version of tamale goodness. We add carrots & potatoes that have been cooked in a red sauce,and sometimes olives too. We also use chicken,and sometimes beef,however my personal favorites are made with masa and Jack cheese. Yummy!

  7. I have never had these...they look amazing!!! xoxo Thanks for sharing the joy..happy weekend.

  8. I love tamales, but I've never made my own. Thank you for the easy directions, I do hope to try this ~

  9. Yum! Mexican food is one of the things I look forward to upon my return each year!!

  10. you can also add a teaspoon of chili powder to your masa to give it a dash of color.Also using a plastic frosting paddle (w/o handle)like the ones used for frosting cakes works great to spread your masa on the husk.Be sure to save your old used husks. I save mine and fold them around a wreath form (open side in)add a huge pretty bow to make a beautiful fall wreath for my door.


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