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Chicken tamales

Masa harina is a type of cornflour (cornstarch) and is readily available in larger supermarkets and health-food stores.


Murdoch Recipe Article Lead - narrow


  • 100 g (3 1/2 oz) butter, softened
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 210 g (7 1/2 oz/1 1/2 cups) masa harina 
  • 4 tablespoons cream (whipping)
  • 4 tablespoons chicken stock


  • 1 corn cob
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 150 g (5 1/2 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 red capsicum (pepper), chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • sour cream, to serve
  • chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves, to serve


1. To make the dough, beat the butter with electric beaters until creamy. Add the garlic, cumin and 1 teaspoon of salt and mix well. Add the masa harina and combined cream and stock alternately, beating until combined.

2. To make the filling, cook the corn in a saucepan of boiling water for 5–8 minutes, or until tender. Cool, then cut off the kernels with a sharp knife. Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the chicken for about 5 minutes each side, or until golden. Remove, cool and shred finely. Add the garlic, chilli and onion to the pan and cook for 2–3 minutes, or until soft. Stir in the capsicum and corn and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken, tomato and 1 teaspoon of salt and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced.

3. Cut 12 pieces of baking paper into 20 × 15 cm (8 × 6 inch) pieces. Spread a thick layer of dough over each piece, leaving a border at each end. Spoon some filling in the centre, roll up and secure with string. Arrange the parcels in a large steamer in a single layer and cover with a lid. Sit the steamer over a large saucepan or wok of boiling water and steam for 35 minutes, or until firm.

4. Arrange three tamales on each plate and serve with sour cream and coriander, and a fresh salad.

Main ingredient:
Family meals, Children's Party


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