13 Different Ways to Make a Tamale | I am New Mexico

13 Different Ways to Make a Tamale

It’s no surprise that nearly every New Mexican is a complete fan of the New Mexican variation of the tamale. Here are 13 very unique tamale recipes that might make your mouth water, and even better, some ideas in the kitchen. These recipes are in no order, so please enjoy every mouth watering tamale recipe.

13. Red Chile Cumin Pork-Potato Filled Tamales

Red Chile Cumin Pork-Potato Filled Tamales


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound pork butt, cut into small dice (1/2 to 3/4-inch)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon New Mexico Red Chile powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 cups potato, peeled and diced (1-inch)
2 cups stock or broth
16 dried corn husks, soaking in water
1 recipe basic tamale dough, recipe follows
Green Salsa, recipe follows

Basic Tamale Dough:

  • 1 1/2 cups masa harina
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1/3 cup lard, shortening, or duck fat
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons water

Green Salsa:

  • 1/2 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped jalapeno peppers
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


In a medium saucepan, heat the oil until it ripples, add the pork and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add the onions, Red Chile Powder, garlic, pepper, cumin, and salt. Cook for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, potatoes, and the stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour, or until the meat is very tender. The liquid will absorb and the mixture will become slightly “stewed”. The pork should be tender and moist. If more liquid is needed, add a little at a time. Remove from the heat and cool.

Remove a husk from the water and dry with a clean towel. Place 2 tablespoons of tamale dough in center. Spread tamale dough within 1/2-inch of the wide end and halfway toward the pointed end. Put 1 heaping tablespoon meat filling in center of tamale. Fold sides of husk towards center to overlap. Fold pointed end toward the filling. Repeat with the remaining husks.

Put 2 cups of water into a large pan with a rack. Arrange the tamales, seam side down on the rack. Cover with foil and top the foil with a clean towel to catch to excess moisture. Put a lid on the pan, bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and steam for 45 minutes. Serve with Green Salsa. To serve, peel back the husk and dip in.


Basic Tamale Dough:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the masa, baking powder, salt, and cumin thoroughly together. In another bowl, beat the butter and fat together until very light and creamy, about 5 minutes. Gradually beat 3 tablespoons of masa mixture to the butter and fat mixture, followed by 3 tablespoons of water until mixture is light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Continue beating in the masa and water, alternately, until the dough is very smooth and of spreading consistency, about 5 minutes.

Green Salsa:

In a pot of boiling water, blanch the tomatillos for 5 minutes, drain, and place in a food processor. Puree until smooth. In a medium bowl, combine the puree with the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Modified from Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse

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