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Holiday Recipe

TamalesI’m so excited to share this recipe for a traditional southwest holiday treat with you. My friend, Sonia Torres, was generous enough to share her mom, Isabel Sanchez’s, family recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation. The secret ingredient in these super special Holiday Tamales- of course- is love.


Green Chicken Tamales


Pre-prepared *masa: Yes, you can buy this at your local grocery store.

6-8 chicken breasts

Tomatillos20 tomatillos (husked) Do not forget to husk  ;-)

10 Serrano chilies

1½ onion

4 cloves of garlic

1 pack of cornhusks (approximately 24 count)

Cooking Steps

1. Soak the cornhusks in water overnight (to soften)

2. Start by putting the tomatillos and Serrano chilies to boil for about 10-15min. Once they are cooked, blend with ½ of onion and 2 cloves of garlic. Add salt depending on taste. Now you have your delicious green salsa. Put salsa aside.

3. Boil chicken with one onion and 2 cloves of garlic. Once cooked, hand-shred the chicken.

4. Mix masa in a large bowl with hands. One test you can do to make sure masa is well mixed: Get a glass of water. Fill it half way. Put a piece of masa in the water. If the masa floats, it means the masa is well-mixed, which is the key to good tamales.


Spread the masa mix in the corn husk; add some shredded chicken and then the green salsa. Fold the bottom up (into the tamale), then wrap the husk into a tamale shape. Tie ends with shredded husks if desired.  Repeat until you’re beat.

Once you have the quantity you need, place the tamales into a large tall pot *( a tamalera or steamer)

Steam for 45 minutes to 1 hour. They’re ready once the masa becomes firm.


Sweet tamales – follow process outlined above for preparation of Masa, but add ingredients below:sweet tamales

4 cups of sugar

2 cups of raisins

Food coloring (red)

Mix masa with all these ingredients- just 4-5 drops of food coloring will give a pink color to the tamale. Then follow the same process to put them together, but in this case just the masa, and then fold.


*Pre-Prepared  masa can be purchased at any Latin food store.

*Tamalera or steamer will have a divider at the bottom of the pot where the water will be below and the divider will hold the tamales above for a better steam.