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Green Corn Tamale

Green Corn Tamale is essentially a Mexican wrap that uses hot whole green chillies as an ingredient for the filling apart from corn, thus justifying its name. Other fillings like beef or pork or any others may be included as per choice and taste. The Green Corn Tamale like other tamales are labour-intensive and are therefore reserved for preparation only on special occasions such as during Christmas or other holidays and festive occasions.


Green Corn Tamales are believed to have originated in the Tucson, Arizona food culture quite some years ago. Although Green Corn Tamales feature in the menus of every restaurant in these regions, they may not all necessarily taste the same.

Ingredients and Preparation

Meat filling: Pork, beef or chicken breast may be used. The meat is cooked with minced garlic, chopped onion, salt and pepper, with enough water just covering the meat. Once it becomes tender, it is cooled and shredded. The broth obtained is reserved.

Corn Husks: Need to be soaked for about an hour to until they become flexible.

Chillies: Chillies are cooked to soften in boiling water, drained, de-stemmed and de-seeded and then run through a blender. Meat broth reserved earlier is brought to boil adding cumin and bay leaves, the pulverised chilli paste is added and cooked. Shredded meat is added and the sauce is made to thicken.

Preparing Masa in the corn husks:

The corn husk is opened up and masa (ground corn with cheese) flour is placed in the centre and spread uniformly. Above this, a sliver of green chilli is placed; some of the meat-chilli sauce prepared is spread in the centre. The bottom of the husk is folded up to hold the filling and form the wrap before placing in the steamer for about 2 hours. Masa separating from the husk is an indicator that the Tamales are done.

Nutritional Value

On an average, a serving of Green Corn Tamale ~ 350 g would deliver-

• 512.3 calories with 361 calories from fat

• Total Fat content of 34.1 g with 23.6 g saturated fat

• Cholesterol content of 131.8 mg

• Sodium 776.3 mg

• Total carbohydrate content of 23.8 g with dietary fibre content of 3.2 g and 2.7 g sugars and the remainder being other carbohydrate components.

• Protein content of 18.9 g.

Nutritional Improvements

To counter the spice from the chillies, some raisins may be incorporated into the hot chilli sauce for a subtle sweetness and as a very good source of iron, fibre and B-vitamins, boron as well as copper. It thus ensures smooth digestion, aids in treatment of anaemia, supports bone health, healthy vision (owing to antioxidant properties of polyphenolic phytonutrients - Vitamin A, beta carotene and carotenoids).

Best Place to Buy

Lerua's Fine Mexican Foods on Broadway at Casa Molina and El Dorado Restaurant are two of the most popular Tucson restaurants that are known for their delicious green corn tamales.