Chicken in Green Salsa Tamal
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For the tamal dough or masa:
- 3/4 cup lard, vegetable shortening, or seasoned oil (see note at end of recipe)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon cold water
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 pound (about 3 1/4 cups) instant corn masa flour (masa harina) for tortillas or tamales
- 3 1/2 cups homemade chicken broth add more if needed
For the filling:
- 1 batch salsa verde
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken from homemade chicken broth
To assemble the tamales:
- 25 dried corn husks soaking in hot water
To make the tamal dough or masa:
- Place lard, vegetable shortening or seasoned oil in an electric mixer and beat until very light, about 1 minute. Add salt and 1 teaspoon of cold water and continue beating until it is white and spongy, a couple more minutes. Add the baking powder and then alternate adding the instant corn masa and the chicken broth a little at a time. Continue beating until dough is homogeneous and as fluffy as can get. You know the tamal masa is ready when you can drop 1/2 teaspoon of the masa in a cup of cold water and it floats.
To make the filling:
- Combine the salsa verde with the cooked shredded chicken.
To assemble the tamales:
- Soak the dried corn husks in hot water for a couple minutes, or until they are pliable, and drain. Lay out a corn husk with the tapering end towards you. Spread about 3 tablespoons of masa into about a 2 to 3-inch square, the layer should be about 1/4-inch thick, leaving a border of at least 1/2-inch on the sides. Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the middle of the masa square.
- Pick up the two long sides of the corn husk and bring them together (you will see how the masa starts to swaddle the filling) and fold the folded sides to one side, rolling them in same direction around tamal. Fold up the empty section of the husk, with the tapering end, from the bottom up. This will form a closed bottom and the top will be left open.
- Assemble all the tamales and place them as vertically as you can in a container.
To prepare the tamalera or steamer:
- Place water in the bottom pan of a steamer (so that water is under the steamer) and bring it to a simmer. Line the steamer with one or two layers of soaked corn husks.
To cook the tamales:
- When you have all tamales ready, place them, again as vertically as you can, into the prepared steamer with the open end on top. If there is space left in the steamer, tuck in some corn husks, so the tamales won’t dance around. Cover with more corn husks, and steam covered with a lid for 50 minutes to an hour. You know the tamales are ready when they come easily free from the husks. They will still be moist, and as they are released from the husks, you will see the moisture, like when you remove good moist muffins from their paper baking cups.
- Finished tamales will stay warm for about 2 hours in the steamer. They can be made ahead several days before and stored in refrigerator, well wrapped. They can also be frozen for months. In either case, reheat in a steamer. For refrigerated tamales, it will take about 20 minutes and about 45 minutes for frozen tamales.
- Note: To make seasoned oil, in a medium saucepan, heat 1 cup vegetable oil over medium heat, add a thick slice of onion and 4 garlic cloves. Cook for 15 minutes until completely browned. Remove onion and garlic before using the oil.
70comments inChicken in Green Salsa Tamal
10/10! Absolutely fabulous, Pati! Thank you so much for the recipe. My family loved it so much that they asked me to make it again tomorrow 😁🙌🏻
Yay! This makes me SO happy!
Que marravilloso receta!! Muchisimas gracias! These are for sure to be a hit for my nephews bday!!💯💙💙💙
I hope everybody liked hem at the party!
Best food ever
Pati…this is my favorite tamale as well! I also love cheese and jalapeno. Thank you for this recipe…I will certainly try it! I love your show, you make cooking Mexican dishes so easy👍 By the way, you and your husband must be so proud of Alan. You guys are awesome parents!
Thanks for so much kindness Deborah! So happy you have been tuning in and enjoying the show!
Sounds like my moms, can’t wait to make them. Love how you season the oil.
Let me know how you like them Lourdes 😉
Hi Pati, I’ve been making tamales at Christmas time on and off for years but the last couple years they just have not turned out very good. Yesterday I exactly followed your recipe and the turned out PERFECTLY!! Little pillows of deliciousness. I used vegetable shortening (Crisco) and filled them with shredded chicken and mole. Absolutely delicious. Thank you for such a wonderful and detailed recipe that guarantees success!
So glad you liked the recipe and enjoyed your tamales Julie, yay!
Robert ( PD Food and Wine )
Pati: What a dream adventure having overloaded tortas with you and your sisters or entertained by you on a few TicToks in ’22. How wonderful a sight they would be. After seeing that beautiful picture of the Salsa Verde and how warmly you invite us into Tamale season; I want to try a hand at these Chicken in Green Salsa festive treasures. Surely they must make Spirits rise when served hot from the steamer. What I’d like to see you visit, —– The Panaderia that makes fresh Pineapple Cubiletes and then feature the recipe in an upcoming newsletter. Wishing you many years of continued success.
Thanks so much Robert, this is very sweet of you. Enjoy the tamales 😉
Thank you for this beautiful recipe
Glad you like it Julia!
Mom an I would watch your show when she was alive she loved it an so do I still watching it Thanks for the wonderful show an
Gracias Michelle, big hug to you 🙂
Estos tamales son excepcionales. Usa tu receta para preparar la masa, y use para el relleno: queso fresco, rajas salteadas con cebolla, y una rebanada de queso Manchego.
Que rico, que bueno que te gustaron Velia 😉
They were good!!!!!
Just want to say how good I felt after making these tamales. They were so good, not so pretty,(my tamale rolling skills need more practice) . Thank you for sharing your knowledge and skills around the world. I somehow felt like I was in Mexico for a few minutes while making, steaming, then eating these. I love all things Mexican. Thank you.
Thanks so much for your kindness, SO glad you liked these tamales, yay!
Sounds wonderful. I am trying to keep our traditions alive with the family. My son suffers from seizures and flying on airplanes is difficult for him. We will be driving from So Cal to St Louis to visit fam and will be making tamales and continuing the Mexican tradition. Love your show🥰
Hope you enjoy the tamales Xochitle, have fun in Cali! Hugs to you and your son 😉
GRACIAS PATU HERMOSA POR TANTAS RECETAS MAGNIFICAS Y HAPPY BIRTHDAY:), GRACIAS.
Que amable Maria! Mil gracias por los buenos deseos, un abrazo 😉
If I don’t have instant corn masa for tamales, can I just use regular masa harina? I remember hearing you saying something about the instant stuff having extra baking powder in it. Can I just add more baking powder to accomplish the same thing, or does plain old masa harina work fine in this recipe? Muchas gracias!
Hey Farmer Kyle! By all means use regular masa harina, no problem, and yes, add a pinch of baking powder for fluffiness 🙂
When beating the lard, is it better to use a whip attachment or paddle attachment on a stand mixer?
I like to use my whisk attachment. Here’s a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyR8kno58GU&t=8s
The “print” does not work for the casserole recipe.
Thank you for letting me know, Jo. We will have it fixed soon.
Hi Pati- I recently tried your recipe but I could not get the Masa to float in ice water. I followed the instructions exactly, but I am not sure why it wouldn’t float, no matter how long I whipped the masa. Any thoughts?
Oh don’t worry if it doesn’t float, Jon. Masa is capricious and sometimes it just won’t float no matter how much it is whipped.
Thanks for your wonderfull show and all your recipes.
I tried the tamales recipe and after more than 3 hours of steaming they never cooked. I used a big 25 quart tamalera pot and put husks on the empty part so that the tamales were upright. It steamed really good however the tamales did not cook i used Maseca. Does the brand of the flour or the size of the pot has anything to do with it ???
Also could i have the recipe for CHILEATOLE that people make and sell in Puebla after it rains. Thank you
The mass may have had too much liquid is my guess, do you want to try them again, Ana?
Amo todas tus recetas debo decir jaja
Puedo adaptar esta receta a tamales de frijoles con queso? 🙂
Hi Pati, I love your show and all your recipes. Can I prepare the tamales with butter? How much?
Thank you Sandra! For the tamales, I recommend the seasoned vegetable oil as a substitute for lard, but you are welcome to try them with butter.
I use olive oil and my tamales turn out fine (in my opinion!) The masa doesn’t get really fluffy, but I like a dense masa anyway. I love your generous attitude, Pati.
Thank you so much Ann!
She spoke of a cassorole after making the tamales. Could I get the directions. Same ingredients.
Here you go Donna: https://patijinich.com/pati_2020/recipe/chicken-and-salsa-verde-tamal-casserole/
Can I get the recipe for the salsa verde?
Here you go Rasheeda: https://patijinich.com/pati_2020/recipe/salsa-verde/
What do you if the masa does not float to the top of vessel of cold water?
Oh you need to beat the mixture some more… but don’t worry if it doesn’t float, maybe you are testing the floating tip with too much masa 😉
To make ahead, do you refrigerate or freeze after steaming for an hour?
You can do either! Wrap them well and keep them in the fridge for several days or in the freezer for months. In either case, reheat in a steamer. For refrigerated tamales, it will take about 20 minutes and about 45 minutes for frozen tamales.
Pati, if I were to make this recipe casserole style, is a 9×13 dish the correct size?
That should work!
Omg looks delicious I can’t wait to make them thank you. I need the chilaquiles receta
Here you go! https://patijinich.com/pati_2020/recipe/green-chilaquiles-in-roasted-tomatillo-sauce/
Wow My tamales were a success, we just ate them for dinner with some delicious chocolate caliente! Thanks for your amazingly delicious recipes Pati, Merry Christmas!! ( I wish I was able to post the picture I took)
Oh you an post a picture to my Facebook page…I would love to them!
How would you use fresh masa from the local tortilleria instead of the dry masa? Just leave out the chicken stock?
My family and I love your show and every recipe we’ve tried from it has become a favorite!
Thank you for making our lives more delicious!
Thank you so much Manda! You can use the fresh masa and then follow the recipe adding the lard/vegetable shortening/seasoned oil, the chicken broth (or other broth), and the salt, and beat the mixture for a long time until it becomes puffy and floats.
Hi Pati, I just made your tamales and I am sooooo happy. They taste great. However I do have a question – When I have finished steaming are they still suppose to be a little mushy? Do they harden up as they sit? I have steamed them 70 mins.
My only other try with making tamales was about 30 years ago and we had to throw them out for the horses. Guess what the horses wouldn’t even eat them they kicked the tamales around for sport. hee hee
That is so funny! Yes: tamales firm up as they set. So you can just let them sit in the pot for another hour, as long as they are covered…. they will stay super warm!
Once you season the oil can you then use it right away or does it need to solidify again before you can beat it in a mixer
Great question Carmen! The oil doesn’t need to be solid…just watch out when you whip it with the rest of the ingredients. Start on a slow speed….
I absolutely adore your cooking and your show. Is it possible for you to post a note about the alternative method you mentioned when you demonstrated this recipe on your show: Tamale Casserole? The main layers are clear – masa, filling, masa. But you mentioned something about finishing the top with Salsa Verde, cream? and cheese? And for how long would you bake it? Thank you kindly!
First you bake the casserole with just the masa, filling, and masa, and covered with foil for 50 minutes. Then you add 1 cup of the salsa and top it with cream and grated cheese and bake it for another 10 minutes uncovered.
I made these for my family today…My dad loved them- he was skeptical when I told him that I was making them by hand, by myself. Very impressive to bring over for a holiday! Thank you for your show and your recipes- your excitement for the food and ingredients makes me so very happy when I watch!
Yay!! I’m glad they turned out!
We had a blast making your tamales this weekend. My wife is a vegetarian so we made one batch of the chicken with salsa Verde and the other we made roasted poblano peppers and zucchini in Salsa Verde. Amazing! Thank you for teaching me this fluffy temal recipe
You are very welcome, few things compare to fluffy puffy tamales.