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  • Writer's pictureCecilia Tupac

How to make Peruvian 'Tamales de Pollo' - Chicken Tamales

How to make Peruvian Chicken Tamales

Consumed all over Latin America, tamales are a beloved dish cherished by individuals from various Spanish-speaking countries. Discover what tamales are, how they are made, and why they are so popular across the continent.

What are Tamales?

Tamales Recipe

Tamales are a unique corn-based dish believed to have originated in Mesoamerica—the region between North and South America. Made from corn masa wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves and then steamed, tamales often contain a variety of fillings such as chicken or pork.

While Mexican tamales are perhaps the most well-known, Peruvian tamales stand out due to their use of ají amarillo and ají panca—two native chili peppers that give the tamales a rich and slightly spicy taste. Unlike in some other countries, Peruvian tamales are wrapped and steamed in banana leaves, imparting an earthy flavour to the dish.

Not only are Tamales are a delicious and filling meal, but they are also a representation of the continents rich culinary heritage and are the perfect addition for any family gathering or special event.

How to make Peruvian Tamales

To make Peruvian Chicken Tamales, follow the step-by-step instructions below:

  1. Prepare the Banana Leaves: Cut and briefly pass the banana leaves over an open flame to make them more flexible.

  2. Prepare the Masa: In a large pan, fry pork lard with achiote oil, onions, and garlic paste. Next, add aji amarillo and aji panca paste along with seasoning. Pour in the chicken stock and cook until well blended.

  3. Add the Cornflour: Gradually add cornflour to the mixture, stirring continuously until it reaches the desired consistency.

  4. Assemble the Tamales: Place a portion of the filling on a banana leaf. Add in the boiled chicken and egg, and fold the banana leaf to enclose the filling, tying it with string or cover it with foil to secure.

  5. Steam the Tamales: Place the tamales in a steamer and cook for 1-2 hours until the masa is firm and cooked through.

  6. Serve: Serve the Tamales with a sarza criolla (Peruvian pickled lime and onion salsa), bread or a coffee.

Peruvian Tamales Recipe

Want to watch a video that explains how to prepare Peruvian tamales step-by-step? You're in luck! Follow the video below from Chef Cecilia Tupac and learn how to make delicious tamales in your own kitchen.

Tamales Ingredients:

  • 500 gr of cornflour

  • 250 gr of boiled chicken

  • 250 gr of pork lard

  • 2 onions

  • 1 litre of chicken stock

  • 3 tablespoons of Aji Amarillo paste

  • 2 tablespoons of garlic paste

  • 3 tablespoons of Achiote oil

  • 3 tablespoons of Aji Panca paste

  • Salt, pepper and cumin to taste

  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter


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