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Cuban Tamales

Cooking Method
Difficulty Medium
Prep Time: 120 min Cook Time: 70 min Total Time: 3 hrs 10 mins
Servings 12
  • 1 pound Corn Husks
  • 2 pounds Corn Kernals (7-8 ears of corn)
  • 2 cups Corn Flour
  • 1 cup Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt (to desired taste)
  • 3 cups Masitas (pork in chunks shredded)
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion (diced)
  • 1 Bell Pepper (diced)
  • 10 Garlic (cloves)
  • 16 ounces Cherry Tomatoes (pureed)
  • 1 teaspoon Sazon
  • 25 Cooking Twine (12" pieces)
  1. Remove the corn husks from the package. Soak the corn husks in hot water while preparing the Cuban tamales. If the water cools down and the husks are not completely pliable, replace water with more hot water.
  2. Using a large bowl cut off corn kernels from each cob with a sharp knife. I saw many recipes using frozen corn but then said it was very watery from being frozen. If using frozen corn try to squeeze out water or you may need to add more masa in next steps.
  3. Using a blender, food processor or I used my Nutri Bullet, process corn until all of the pieces are ground down. The first time I didn't process the corn enough and there were too many whole corn pieces left.
  4. Stir in corn flour. Next, gradually add in chicken broth. Salt to taste. Cuban tamales tend to be more moist than Mexican tamales so don't worry if the mixture is "wet". Also because the corn is sweeter here in the United States compared to corn in Cuba, a little extra salt may be needed to counter the sweetness.
  5. Next, make the sofrito. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium high heat. Add in onions and bell peppers and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add in garlic (grated or smashed) and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add pureed tomatoes and sazon.
  7. Using an immersion blender, blend until sofrito is a smooth sauce. Cover and let simmer on low. During this time let the flavors cook to combine while preparing masitas.
  8. Shred pieces of pork. I used leftover masitas (fried pork chunks). Many times when making Cuban food I look for something to do with the leftovers. Sometimes Cuban food can be a lot of work so getting two meals out of one is the way to go. Look above in the recipe notes for how to make masitas (fried pork chunks). I used about 15 pieces of pork (masitas) to make 3 cups of shredded pork.
  9. Add the pork to sofrito and stir to combine. Now add the pork and sofrito to the corn mixture. If mixture becomes too "wet" from adding the sofrito and pork stir in a little more masa until desired consistency. Taste tamales and if more salt is needed add to desired taste.
  10. Remove corn husks from water and drain on paper towels. Lay down corn husks in overlapping manner. Spoon some of the tamale mixture in the middle and fold husks around tamale.
  11. Tie 12" piece of twine around tamale and place in a steamer basket. I have seen them cooked directly in about an inch of water but I prefer the steaming method. Arrange all of the tamales in the steamer basket. Bring water to a boil on high heat and then reduce to medium heat. Cook for about 1 hour with a lid. Check periodically to make sure the water hasn't cooked out and add more if needed. Turn heat off and let cool with the lid on for another 15-20 minutes. When cooled enough to touch unwrap tamale and enjoy!