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Chicken and Red Chili Tamales

Make a fiesta out of your next dinner with these impressive tamales.

Nutrition Facts: Calories 120; Fat 4g; Cholesterol 15mg; Sodium 320mg; Carbohydrates 13g; Fiber 2g; Protein 9g
Chicken and Red Chili Tamales Photo
Yield: Serves 8


  • 1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small onion, peeled and left whole
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 dried ancho chile, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 plum tomato, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. raisins
  • 1 Tbs. sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 20 dried corn husks
  • 3/4 cup Masa Harina
  • 1 Tbs. vegetable shortening


  1. To prepare the filling, combine the chicken, the whole onion, 1 of the garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and enough water to barely cover the chicken in a saucepan
  2. Bring to a boil
  3. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes
  4. Discard the onion
  5. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate
  6. Reserve the broth and set aside
  7. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, thinly slice or shred
  8. Moisten chicken with a little of the reserved broth and set aside
  9. Heat a large nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat
  10. Swirl in the oil, then add the chopped onion
  11. Cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 10 minutes
  12. Add the remaining garlic cloves and the chile
  13. Cook until the garlic is golden and the chile is toasted, about 3 minutes
  14. Add the water, tomato, raisins, almonds, cinnamon, cloves and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt
  15. Bring to a boil
  16. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors are blended, about 15 minutes
  17. Discard the cloves
  18. Puree the mixture in batches in a food processor or blender
  19. Return to the saucepan and add the chicken
  20. Simmer over medium heat until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes
  21. Combine the corn husks and enough hot water to cover in a large bowl
  22. Soak, turning occasionally, until pliable, about 30 minutes
  23. Meanwhile, to prepare the masa dough, with an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the Masa Harina, shortening and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt until mixture comes together
  24. Add three-quarters of the reserved broth
  25. Beat on low speed until light and spongy, about 5 minutes
  26. Cover and refrigerate the dough about 20 minutes
  27. Drain and rinse the corn husks; keep covered with a damp towel
  28. Cut 2 or 3 of the husks lengthwise into sixteen (1/4-inch wide) strips, set aside
  29. Flatten a corn husk on a work surface
  30. Spread 2 Tbs. dough over the husk, leaving a 1-inch margin on all sides
  31. Spoon 1 1/2 Tbs. filling on top of the dough
  32. Roll up lengthwise into a cylinder, secure each end by tying with a strip of husk
  33. Repeat with the remaining husks, dough and filling, making a total of 16 tamales
  34. Place tamales in a steamer basket
  35. Set in a saucepan over 1 inch of boiling water
  36. Cover tightly, reduce the heat to low and steam until very hot, about 45 minutes

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