M is for Mexican
30 mins
Cooking time
60 mins


Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
500g minced beef
1 x 200g chipotle in adobo, chopped
sea salt
250g masa harina or polenta
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter
16 corn husks


  1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the cumin seeds and fry for a few seconds until aromatic. Add the onion and soften for 10 minutes, partially covered. Stir in the paprika and coriander, and cook for a further minute before adding the beef. Fry for 5–6 minutes until broken up and lightly browned. Add the chipotle to the pan, along with the adobo sauce and 200ml water. Simmer for 15 minutes and season to taste. Allow to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add the corn husks. Simmer for 10 minutes until soft, and then drain.
  3. For the dough, blitz the masa harina, baking powder, salt and butter in a food processor, until the mixture resembles fine sand. Slowly add 275ml water until the mixture comes together into a soft dough. Remove, cover and rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough in half, then half again until you have 16 pieces, and flatten out the corn husks. Place a portion of dough at the wide end of each corn husk, and press it down flat over half of the surface of the husk, leaving a 2–cm space along the widest edge and the two long sides. One half of the husk should have nothing on it. Spoon a tablespoon filling into the centre and then, starting at the widest edge, roll the husk over the dough, folding the long edges in, continuing until the husk is completely rolled up. Secure with twine, and continue with the rest of the husks.
  5. Heat 2.5–5cm of water in a steamer, and place the filled tamales in the steamer basket. Steam for 30 minutes and carefully remove the corn husks before eating.
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