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Recipe: Chicken tamales

Serves 4

Dietitian Tip

This recipe uses stone-ground cornmeal, which makes it higher in fiber. Store unused cornmeal in the freezer.


  • 12 dried corn husks
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 12 ounces total (9 ounces cooked)
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, roasted and diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 fresh chili pepper, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seed
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons stone-ground cornmeal (masa)


Soak corn husks in bowl of water for one hour.

Heat large skillet over medium heat, add oil and saute chicken breasts for 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Remove chicken from pan. Add vegetables (except garlic) to the pan and saute for 10 minutes until lightly brown. Add garlic and saute an additional 2 minutes.

Add chicken back to pan and add vegetable stock and spices. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, until the chicken's internal temperature is 165 F. Remove chicken and allow it to cool.

Add stone-ground cornmeal (masa) to remaining liquid and cook until liquid is completely absorbed. Set aside.

Pull chicken apart. Drain corn husks well, pat dry. Lay husks out flat and spread masa mixture on each. Divide pulled chicken between them. Then top with vegetables. Fold and roll like a burrito.

Bake tamales at 375 F for about 15 minutes or steam them in a covered colander over boiling water for about 30 minutes. Alternately, you can wrap tamales in non-stick foil and grill them for about 5 minutes. Be sure to cook until a minimum internal temperature of 165 F. Unwrap to eat.

Nutritional Analysis (per serving)

Serving Size3 tamales
Carbohydrate27 g
Cholesterol54 mg
Fiber4 g
Protein26 g
Sodium114 mg
Monounsaturated Fat4 g
Saturated Fat1 g
Total Fat8 g

Last updated: January 5th, 2016

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