Fresh Corn Tamales | PCC Natural Markets

Fresh Corn Tamales

Yield: Makes enough for about 3 dozen small tamales

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These ingredients are:
vegetarian iconVegetarian egg-free iconEgg-free gluten-free iconGluten-free peanut-free iconPeanut-free soy-free iconSoy-free tree nut-free iconTree nut-free wheat-free iconWheat-free



Grill the shucked corn over hot coals, turning occasionally until lightly charred. Allow them to cool then cut the kernels from the ears, scraping the cob to accumulate all of the juices. You may do this up to a day in advance.

In a heavy sauté pan, heat the oil and cook the onions until soft and lightly golden. Transfer to a mixing bowl and let cool slightly.

Add the chile, corn kernels, oregano, chipotle and the cheeses. Season with salt, pepper and lime juice.

To assemble the tamales

Lay out a corn husk, rough side down. If it's a small husk, place two together, overlapping them a bit. Spread a rectangle of about 2 to 3 tablespoons masa in the center of the husk (you may use your moistened fingers or the back of a spoon to do this) and place 1 to 2 tablespoons filling down the center. I like my masa to be relatively thin, so about 1/8-inch thickness works well. All of these measurements will depend on the size of the tamales you wish to make. Let good sense and a healthy dose of fun be your guide!

Fold the two long sides of the husk toward the middle so the masa forms a tube around the filling and wrap the husk around to form a cylinder.

Tie the tamales at each end of the filling with kitchen twine. (Or you may use the traditional method by tearing off strips of corn husk and twisting them into small ropes.)

You may place the tamales in the pot or steamer standing upright or stack them by placing one layer facing one direction and the next at a 90-degree angle, etc. leaving space for steam to circulate around each. Place the lid on the pot/steamer and bring the water to a steady simmer. Watch the pot for water level and fill with water as needed. (I keep a pot of boiling water on the stove so I don't lose temperature in my steamer.)

Check for doneness at about 15 minutes for loosely packed tamales and about 45 minutes to 1 hour for more tightly packed. To tell if your tamales are done, peel the husk away. If it comes off smoothly and the masa is tender but firm, your tamale is done. If not, rewrap it and place it back in the steamer. Depending on the size of the tamales, and how closely they are packed, it may take up to 1 hour.

Serve with Pico de Gallo.


Steaming tamales

There are many methods for steaming tamales. The classic steamer looks like a large pot with a perforated smaller insert, which sits in the pot. You may devise one of these by placing a cake rack on inverted small ramekins in the bottom of a heavy pot with a lid. Fill the pot with water, almost up to the level of the rack, but not touching the tamales. For smaller batches, a stacking bamboo steamer or an electric steamer work beautifully.

Recipe by Lynne Vea, PCC Chef

Source: Demonstrated on KING 5's "Gardening with Ciscoe" show, which aired on August 6, 2011.

Lynne Vea


Lynne Vea is a graduate of the Executive Chef Program at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris and has been cooking with PCC Natural Markets since 2001. Featured on King-5’s "Gardening with Ciscoe," she demonstrates easy and delicious recipes using seasonal ingredients.

Lynne is an admired PCC Cooks instructor, teaching a variety of popular PCC Cooks classes throughout the year.

She loves to collect old cookbooks, hunt for wild berries, and cook seven-course dinners where the guests are encouraged to dance and cavort between courses.

Find more recipes from Lynne.

More about: corn, grains


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