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Green Salsa Chicken Tamales by Karla Zazueta



Cooks In

1hr 45 min



A simple tomatillo chicken tamal recipe that one must know how to make. For the vegetarian option, replace the chicken for more spinach and halloumi cheese and chicken stock for vegetable stock.


To cook the chicken

Start by cooking the chicken breast. In a saucepan, place the chicken breast and add the onion, garlic, salt and water. Bring this to a boil and remove any scum, then lower the heat down and simmer for 30 minutes. When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the saucepan, reserving the chicken stock to use later to make the masa for the tamales.

With the help of two forks, shred the chicken and set it aside. Then in another saucepan, heat the vegetable oil on medium heat and add the shredded onion. Fry for 3 minutes and then add the fresh spinach. Lower the heat and continue frying the onion and the spinach for 3 more minutes until the spinach has cooked. Then add the shredded chicken and the tomatillo salsa and 4 tbsp chicken stock. Bring this to a boil, turn the heat off and set it aside to cool down.

Separate the corn husk leaves, make sure they are cleaned and discard any corn leaves with holes. Place them in a large bowl, pour hot water over them until they are covered. Leave them to soak for 30 minutes.

To make the masa for the tamales, place the masa harina in a large bowl. Add the salt, garlic salt, baking powder and mix together. Make a well in the middle of the masa harina and add the oil and then using a fork, mix it with the flour. Then add the warm chicken stock and warm water and mix with the help of the fork. Once all the ingredients are combined, make sure no lumps are left in the dough, by mixing it by hand. Remove the corn husk leaves from the hot water and get rid of the excess by giving them a good shake. Gather the masa for the tamales, the tomatillo chicken filling and the corn husk.

To make a tamal, grab a corn husk and place it over the worktop, smooth side up. Take 50g of tamal dough and using a plastic spatula press and spread the dough on the corn husks, making sure it is around a bit thicker than one pence coin. Then add some tomatillo chicken filling

To close the tamal, grab one end of the corn husk and bring it to the middle, then the other end, making like a tight taco, making sure the dough wraps the filling. Fold it from the bottom and place it standing up on a large bowl, so the filling stays inside. Finish assembling all the tamales.

If you do not have a pot especially for making tamales, use a large Dutch oven pot, pour in 500 ml hot water and add 1 tsp salt, place a collapsible steamer basket at the bottom and place some corn husks on top. Then carefully, place the tamales upright, to avoid the filling coming out, cover with more husks. Put the lid on. Bring the water to a boil for 3 minutes and then lower the heat all the way down and steam for 1 hour.

Once the hour has passed, turn off the heat and wait 15 minutes until taking the lid off. To serve, remove the corn husk leaf, place on a plate, top with more tomatillo salsa and freshly chopped coriander.