Tamales plus a GIVEAWAY!


Today is April 17 which means it’s the one year anniversary of my blog! I can’t believe it’s already been one year! Over the last 365 days, I have put together 178 posts, exploring all different cuisines and gorging on all the sweets that I have baked for this site. This site first started as motivation for me to stay excited about my job and now it has grown into one of my passions. If I could I would work on my blog all day and not work (if only!)




To commemorate this special day, I’m doing a give away! Just write a comment with your name and the answer to the question: What is your favorite dish and why? for a chance to win a free $20 gift card to Target!

The raffle will begin today and end two weeks from today, May 1 (day has been extended) at 6pm pacific time. Enter now!!

poll is now closed

Now for the recipe, I went all out today and made pork tamales. I’ve made tamales before but I have to admit, this recipe is the best one I’ve tried so far. Grab your corn husks and masa and make these immediately because they are too good to pass up!

Pork tamales with salsa verde
Yields 30
Write a review
Total Time
4 hr
Total Time
4 hr
323 calories
25 g
41 g
19 g
14 g
3 g
120 g
216 g
0 g
0 g
14 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 323
Calories from Fat 168
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 19g
Saturated Fat 3g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 11g
Cholesterol 41mg
Sodium 216mg
Total Carbohydrates 25g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars 0g
Protein 14g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 2 1/2 pound pork shoulder
  2. 7 dried Guajilo chiles
  3. 2-3 cups hot water
  4. 2 garlic, peeled
  5. 2 tsp oregano
  6. 1/2 tsp cumin
  7. 1/2 tsp salt
  8. Corn husks
  1. 3/4 lb or 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  2. 2 lb masa mix, specifically for tamales
  3. 1 tbsp baking powder
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 1/2 cup - 1 cup water or broth
  1. 4 pasilla peppers
  2. 1 jalapeno
  3. 1/2 small onion, chopped
  4. 1 small tomato, chopped
  5. 1 handful cilantro leaves
  6. juice of 1 lime
  7. salt and pepper
  8. 8 oz Mexican cheese blend
  1. Make the marinade for the pork. Cut off the stems off the dried chiles and shake out as many seeds as you can. Soak in 2-3 cups hot water and keep a light weight such as a bowl on top to keep the chiles submerged. Let sit for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, trim large pieces of fat from the pork.
  2. When the chiles are ready, place them in a blender or food processor along with 3/4 cup of the water it was soaking in. Add the garlic, oregano, cumin, and salt. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Pour the marinade onto the pork, covering the pork completely in the puree. Let marinade for at least 8 hours and up to one day.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place the pork with the marinade in a baking dish and cover with foil. Roast for 3 hours or until fork tender. The pork should be tender enough that it can easily be separated with a fork. Shred the pork and let sit in the liquid. Set aside until ready to use.
  4. Soak the corn husks in warm water for at least 30 minutes and up to a night. Keep a weight on top of the husks to keep them submerged in the liquid. Drain the liquid from the husks and set aside.
  5. For the masa, whip the lard at a slow speed until fluffy. Add the masa mix, baking powder, and salt and mix together. Slowly add the water or broth as needed. Your masa is ready when a small piece of the dough can float in a glass of water. If you are using vegetable oil, mix the masa mix with the oil, baking powder and salt until incorporated. Slowly add the water or broth as needed. Set aside.
  6. Make the salsa verde by roasting the pasilla peppers and jalapeno in 400 degrees F for 15 minutes or until the skin begins to blacken. Remove from the oven, place the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove the plastic and begin to carefully peel the skin off the peppers. Remove the stems and seeds from the pasilla peppers but keep the jalapeno seeds. Put all of the roasted peppers and jalapeno seeds in a blender with the onion, tomato, cilantro, and lime juice. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  8. To assemble the tamales: get your steamer ready by boiling the water. Take a corn husk with no tears and spread about 1/4 cup of the prepared masa about 2 inches down from the top of the husk. Spread as evenly as you can but it does not have to be perfect. Lay about 2-3 tbsp of the shredded pork in the center of the masa lengthwise followed by the shredded cheese than 2 tbsp of the salsa verde. Fold in the ends of the tamale towards the middle (lengthwise), wrapping the meat and cheese. Fold over the narrow end of the husk (the part with no masa on it), folding the tamale in half.
  9. Use a corn husk that has a tear or hole and peel strands of the husk from the top to bottom. Use these strands to bind the tamales together, securing the folded ends. Continue assembling the remaining tamales.
  10. Lay the tamales in the steamer either standing up, with the open side facing up, or shingling the tamales. Steam for 1 hour and 30 minutes. You can also steam in the oven by placing a wire rack in a baking dish. Place a casserole dish on top of the wire rack and place the tamales inside. Cover with foil. Pour hot water into the bottom of the baking dish and bake in the oven at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  11. Remove the tamales from the steamer or oven and serve immediately with extra salsa on the side.
Adapted from Crepesofwrath
Adapted from Crepesofwrath
Cherry on my Sundae http://cherryonmysundae.com/

**Helpful tips and common mistakes

Tamales are a lot of work so if you’re like me, you can take several days to prepare everything. On the first day, marinade the pork. I purchased a bone in pork shoulder but you can also cook one without the bone.
The next day cook your pork. While your pork is roasting, make the masa. Now I had to do a lot of research for the masa. I’ve always used already prepared masa so this is a new step for me. I first purchased maseca but I realized that you have to use maseca that is purposely for tamales; mine was not. Therefore, I switched to El Burrito Masa that clearly stated for tamales (written on the back). Keep in mind that this masa is still not ready to use! 
To finish the steps for the masa, you must incorporate a fat such as lard or oil. I’ve also seen masa made with shortening. Lard is the best option since it flavors the masa in a way that oil cannot, but I used oil to be healthier. Once the ingredients are beaten together, the masa is ready to use. You can refrigerate until ready to use. Masa also freezes quite well if you want to make a large batch and save the rest for next time.
If making the tamales the next day, you can also choose to soak the husks overnight. Soaking the husks allows them to soften and prevents them from tearing when assembling the tamales.
You can also make the salsa the day before so that all you have to do the day of is assemble the tamales.
Look at that gorgeous pork! It’s easier to shred the pork when warm so shred after it is cooked, cool and refrigerate until the next day (or use immediately). You want to let it sit in the liquid so the pork won’t dry out.
Now it’s finally time to make the tamales! Have all your ingredients out in an assembly line to make it easier for you. The cheese is optional and can be taken out.
I don’t have a traditional steamer so I placed a rack in a large pot with a casserole dish on top of the rack. Lay the tamales inside, cover and let steam. Keep an eye on your water, refilling if needed. 
I ran out of space in the top steamer so I finished the rest in the oven. This was my first time steaming the tamales in the oven, but it worked just as well!
You can tell when your tamales are ready when they feel firm. The masa should have set, the cheese melted, and the pork should be hot. You can always open one to check if they are ready.
Tamales are usually on the dry side but these were far from it! The pork had so much flavor and the juices from the pork combined with the salsa and the cheese prevented the tamale from being dry. Absolutely delicious! Three days of work is well rewarded with these tamales; you can even store leftovers in the freezer and enjoy later in the week!
Okay so the end of the free giveaway has finally come and after using a random number generator, the winner is…
Congratulations #28, Justin Young!
Thank you to everyone for participating and look out for the next giveaway!

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  1. pizza… because it has cheese and bread and meat and is deliiiiiicious!

  2. Congrats on your one year anniversary! Very exciting! My favorite dish is Chicken Cordon Bleu…but maybe I will change it to these tamales. They look fab. Great blog!

  3. My favorite dish is probably my mom’s curry. Spicy and comforting and so complex!

  4. The yellow birthday cake with homemade chocolate frosting that my mom makes. Delicious, sweet and brings back plenty of good memories!

  5. Those tamales sound yummy! I love homemade pizza, which is sad because as a fellow food blogger I feel like you have to like something more upscale. But you can do a lot of cool things with pizza dough 🙂 Your pictures are beautiful by the way!

  6. Hmmm, would have to say hot wings. Something about that tangy hot sauce sauce when it mixes with the blue cheese creates just the right fusion of hot/cheesy goodness.

  7. I love rice porridge (risengrynsgrøt) with a little sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon. My parents always make it right before Christmas, and we have porridge on Christmas Eve morning, then add whipped cream to make riskrem, and add fruit (traditionally a raspberry sauce, but we use cherries) to eat for Christmas Eve. I like the homey porridge best, and used to eat it for days in college when I was short of money. 🙂

  8. My favorite dish is PIZZA! Whether homemade or delivered, there’s so many ways to change it up and make it your own 🙂

  9. Kathy

    My favorite dish is clams or mussels drenched in butter broth!

  10. these look AMAZING! the last picture reminds me of Dim Sum, now it’d be interesting to integrate Asian cuisine into a tamale!

  11. Beef/Chicken Teriyaki over rice. It reminds me of my childhood. With the right teriyaki sauce and meat I can eat it for days!!!

  12. Looks delicious! Now I need to someone to make it for me! Any takers?

  13. Congrats on your 1 year anniversary! Wow, 178 posts! Many more to come! The tamales look amazing. I got excited and thought it was a tamale giveaway, but I guess a Target giftcard is cool too.

    My favorite dish is Dukbokki……because Dukbokki.

    Nom Nom!

  14. My favorite food is chicken fettuccine alfredo. It has to do something with the cheese!

  15. Phuong Nguyen

    Congratulations on the 1 year anniversary of your food blog! I love your mouth-watering posts and vivid pictures. Keep up the great work!

    As for my favorite dish, there’s only one thing that goes perfect with everything…and that’s PIZZA! A traditional hand-tossed always hits the spot.

  16. Khanh Nguyen

    One of my favorite dish to make is clams cooked in beer or wine with chopped basil. Clams are so easy to cook and you can eat this dish by itself or add noodles and you have a complete meal within 30 minutes.

  17. Kyle Liu

    My favorite dish is katsu-don because the combination of the pork cutlet with eggs and the sauce is delicious!

  18. Favorite dish? I’d have to say anything with Basil in it, because I love the scent.

  19. Favorite Dish: Nutella Cookies. Why? Come on. Nutella. Cookies. Only way I could imagine it getting better is if you could somehow infuse chunks of Bacon into them….

  20. Hey Christine, just in case you don’t remember I was in your Korean classes at BU! 🙂 But I just discovered your blog today and have to say 1. it’s amazing, everything looks so delicious I don’t know what to try to replicate first! And 2. my favorite food is probably ddukbokki, but if I won I think I would rather have your tamales than the gift card… they look so delicious!!

  21. Kristal Lee

    My favorite dish has got to be the standard Korean “Golden Curry”, with lots of chopped onions, potatoes and carrots thrown in. Reminds me of Lily preschool and our chef Mamma Dora.

  22. Congrats on your 1 year!!
    My favorite dish is Andres spaghetti because I never get tired of it! And my fave dessert is Flan because it’s deliciously rich and creamy!!

  23. I love your blog! Congrats and keep up the amazing work!

    My favorite dish is penne al arrabiata. I love the combination of the chewy al dente noodles and spicy tomato sauce, add some basil and I could eat this dish everyday!

    Lindsey Woo

  24. I must have looked through most of your recipes haha…

    I think your Empanadas is my favorite dish at the moment because I’m craving it. lol

    Your website is awesome and your food mouth-watering.
    Keep it up!


  25. beginning to end, this post was so helpful with hints/tips & all. end product was delicious! thanks so much!

  26. Anonymous

    Keep up the great work. love this blog because the recipes are easy to follow and look amazing. my favorite dish is unagi donburi because my mom would always make it for me and my sister on a rainy day. when I eat it now it brings me back to my childhood and makes me appreciate everything my mom has done for me. -Bryan Kimura

  27. Great recipes, great taste. I love this website!

  28. Justin Young

    I’m going to go with the scallop pot pie because I love creamy foods!

  29. Anonymous

    Pictures are amazing, directions are easy to follow, can’t wait to try them all.
    -Yvonne L.

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