Tamales Nejos Recipe

Tamales Nejos Recipe: A Delectable Twist on Traditional Mexican Cuisine

Tamales nejos recipe is a traditional mexican dish made with masa dough and various fillings, wrapped in corn husks and steamed to perfection. This article provides a step-by-step guide to making this delicious treat, along with tips for perfecting your technique.

Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner in the kitchen, this recipe will help you create authentic tamales that are sure to impress your family and friends. From preparing the masa to selecting the right fillings, we’ve got you covered.

So let’s dive in and learn how to make tamales nejos like a pro.

Tamales Nejos Recipe: A Delectable Twist on Traditional Mexican Cuisine

Tamales Nejos Recipe: A Delectable Twist On Traditional Mexican Cuisine

Tamales nejos are a unique variation of the traditional tamale dish, introducing new and exciting flavors to this beloved mexican cuisine. By incorporating additional ingredients and spices, tamales nejos offer a delightful twist that is sure to please your taste buds.

Let’s delve into the concept of tamales nejos and explore the ways in which they elevate the traditional tamale experience.

Discuss The Concept Of Tamales Nejos, Which Are A Unique Variation Of The Traditional Tamale Dish.

  • Tamales nejos are a delicious spin on the classic tamale, originating from various regions in mexico.
  • The term “nejos” translates to “aged” or “old,” referring to the traditional cooking technique used for these tamales.
  • Tamales nejos are made with a fermented corn dough called masa, which gives them a distinct flavor and texture.
  • These tamales are typically larger in size compared to traditional tamales, providing a heartier and more satisfying meal.

Highlight How Tamales Nejos Incorporate Additional Ingredients And Spices To Enhance Their Flavor.

  • Tamales nejos often feature a meat filling, such as succulent pork, tender chicken, or savory beef.
  • To elevate the flavor, various ingredients are added, such as onions, garlic, and aromatic herbs like cilantro and oregano.
  • The use of additional spices, like cumin, paprika, and chili powder, adds a delightful kick to the tamales.
  • Some regional variations may include ingredients like olives, raisins, or even cheese, further enriching the flavor profile.

Incorporating these additional ingredients and spices results in tamales nejos that are bursting with flavors, enticing your taste buds with every bite. Whether enjoyed as a main dish or a scrumptious snack, tamales nejos offer a delightful twist on a traditional mexican favorite.

So, indulge in these flavorful creations and savor the rich culinary heritage of mexico.

Ingredients For Tamales Nejos Recipe

Tamales nejos, a traditional mexican dish, are a delightful treat that can be enjoyed by anyone. The combination of savory masa dough, perfectly seasoned filling, and the unique flavor of the corn husk wrapper makes these tamales a favorite among many.

To create these delectable tamales, you will need a variety of ingredients that come together to create the perfect flavor profile. Let’s take a closer look at the essential ingredients needed to make tamales nejos.

Masa Harina:

  • Masa harina is the key ingredient in making the tamale dough. It is a type of corn flour that has been treated with lime and then ground.
  • The fine texture of masa harina helps create a smooth and soft dough that is easy to handle and shape.
  • This ingredient adds a distinct corn flavor to the tamales and contributes to their overall texture.

Pork Shoulder:

  • Pork shoulder, also known as pork butt or boston butt, is the preferred choice of meat for tamales nejos.
  • The marbling and fat content of pork shoulder make it perfect for slow cooking, resulting in tender and juicy meat that falls apart easily.
  • The rich flavor of pork shoulder adds depth to the tamales, making them even more flavorful.

Chicken Broth:

  • Chicken broth is used to moisten and flavor the masa dough.
  • It adds a savory taste to the tamales and enhances the overall flavor profile of the dish.
  • The moisture from the broth also helps keep the tamales moist and prevents them from drying out during the cooking process.

Dried Guajillo Chiles:

  • Dried guajillo chiles are a staple in mexican cuisine and provide a mild to medium heat level.
  • These chiles add a smoky and slightly fruity flavor to the filling of the tamales.
  • They also give the tamales their beautiful red color, making them visually appealing.

Garlic And Onion:

  • Garlic and onion are aromatic ingredients that add depth and flavor to the filling of the tamales.
  • They provide a savory base that complements the meat and brings out its natural flavors.
  • These ingredients also contribute to the overall aroma of the tamales when they are cooking.

Spices (Cumin, Paprika, And Oregano):

  • A blend of spices, including cumin, paprika, and oregano, is used to season the filling of the tamales.
  • Cumin adds a warm and earthy flavor, while paprika provides a subtle smokiness.
  • Oregano adds a touch of herbal notes, enhancing the overall taste of the tamales.

Corn Husks:

  • Corn husks are used as the wrapper for the tamales, giving them their distinctive shape.
  • These husks are soaked in water to make them pliable and then filled with the masa dough and meat filling.
  • They lend a subtle corn flavor to the tamales and help lock in moisture during the cooking process.

Salt And Pepper:

  • Salt and pepper are essential for seasoning both the meat filling and the masa dough.
  • They enhance the flavors of the other ingredients and bring balance to the overall taste of the tamales.

Each of these ingredients plays a crucial role in creating the authentic flavors and textures of tamales nejos. From the masa harina that forms the dough to the aromatic spices and tender meat, every component contributes to the overall deliciousness of these traditional tamales.

So, gather these essential ingredients, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to savor the mouthwatering delights of tamales nejos!

Preparing The Corn Husks

Corn husks are an essential component of the tamales nejos recipe, providing both flavor and functionality. Before using them to wrap the delicious filling, it is important to prepare the husks properly to achieve the desired texture and flexibility. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you prepare the corn husks:

  • Soaking the husks:
  • Fill a large bowl or sink with warm water.
  • Submerge the corn husks in the water, ensuring they are completely covered.
  • Allow the husks to soak for at least 30 minutes, or until they become pliable.
  • Soaking the husks prevents them from tearing or breaking while wrapping the tamale filling.
  • Cleaning the husks:
  • After soaking, remove the husks from the water and gently rinse them to remove any dirt or debris.
  • Check each husk for large tears or holes, setting aside those that are damaged.
  • Pat the husks dry with a clean towel before moving on to the next step.
  • Removing silks and thick stems:
  • Inspect each husk and locate the thick stem-end. This is where the husk was attached to the cob.
  • Using a sharp knife or your fingers, carefully cut or peel away any thick stems, taking care not to damage the rest of the husk.
  • Locate the narrower tip of the husk and gently peel away any remaining corn silks, ensuring the husk is clean and smooth.
  • Separating husks of different sizes:
  • Corn husks come in various sizes, ranging from small to large.
  • Separate the husks according to their size, grouping similar sizes together.
  • This will make it easier for you to select the right size husk when assembling the tamales.
  • Storing the prepared husks:
  • Once you have prepared all the corn husks, stack them neatly into a pile.
  • Cover the pile with a damp towel or plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out until you are ready to use them.

Preparing the corn husks properly is crucial for achieving the perfect texture and flexibility needed to wrap the tamales nejos filling. By following these simple steps, you will be well on your way to creating mouthwatering and authentic tamales. So, let’s get started and enjoy the process of making these delicious treats for yourself and your loved ones.

Making The Masa Dough

One of the most crucial components of tamales nejos is the masa dough. This delicious dough forms the base for the traditional mexican dish and gives it its unique taste and texture. In this section, we will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to make the perfect masa dough at home.

Gather The Ingredients

Before you start making the masa dough, gather the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups of masa harina (corn flour)
  • 1 1/4 cups of warm water or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of lard or vegetable shortening
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

Prepare The Masa Dough

Follow these steps to prepare the masa dough:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the masa harina, salt, and baking powder.
  • In a separate small bowl, melt the lard or vegetable shortening. Make sure it is fully melted and cooled.
  • Gradually pour the melted lard or vegetable shortening into the masa harina mixture. Mix well using your hands or a wooden spoon.
  • Slowly add the warm water or chicken broth to the mixture while stirring continuously. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and pliable.
  • Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. This resting time allows the flavors to meld together and gives the dough a better texture.

The Key Elements Of Taste And Texture

The unique taste and texture of the masa dough in tamales nejos come from a combination of factors, including:

  • Masa harina: The use of masa harina, a special corn flour made by drying and grinding hominy, gives the dough an authentic corn flavor and a slightly coarse texture.
  • Fat content: The addition of lard or vegetable shortening provides richness and tenderness to the dough, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
  • Leavening agent: Adding baking powder to the dough helps it rise slightly, giving the tamales a light and airy texture.
  • Proper kneading: Thoroughly kneading the dough ensures that all the ingredients are evenly distributed, resulting in a consistent taste and texture throughout the tamales.

Now that you know how to make the perfect masa dough, you’re ready to move on to the next step in preparing the delicious tamales nejos. Stay tuned for our next section on assembling the tamales and steaming them to perfection!

Filling Options For Tamales Nejos

Tamales nejos are a traditional mexican dish that is loved by both meat lovers and vegetarians alike. The filling options for these delicious treats are endless, making it easy to customize them to suit your taste and dietary preferences. Whether you’re a fan of savory or sweet fillings, there’s something for everyone.

Let’s explore some mouthwatering filling ideas that complement the flavors of tamales nejos.

Vegetarian Filling Options

Tamales nejos can be just as flavorful without any meat. Here are some vegetarian filling options to tantalize your taste buds:

  • Cheese and jalapeno: The combination of gooey cheese and spicy jalapenos adds a burst of flavor to your tamales. The creamy cheese balances out the heat, creating a delightful contrast in every bite.
  • Spinach and mushroom: Sauteed spinach and mushrooms make for a hearty and earthy filling. The earthiness of the mushrooms pairs perfectly with the fresh taste of spinach, creating a satisfying and wholesome vegetarian option.
  • Black bean and corn: This classic combination never fails to impress. The creamy texture of black beans combined with the sweetness of corn creates a filling that is both filling and packed with flavor.
  • Roasted vegetable: Roasting a variety of vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant adds a rich and smoky flavor to your tamales. The charred edges of the vegetables give them a unique taste that will leave you wanting more.

Non-Vegetarian Filling Options

If you’re a meat lover, don’t worry, there are plenty of options for you too. Here are some non-vegetarian filling options for your tamales nejos:

  • Shredded chicken: Tender and juicy shredded chicken is a classic filling for tamales nejos. You can season the chicken with spices like cumin and chili powder for an extra kick of flavor.
  • Pork and green chile: Succulent pork combined with tangy and slightly spicy green chile is a match made in heaven. The slow-cooked pork melts in your mouth, while the green chile adds a delicious heat to your tamales.
  • Beef and red chili: For those who prefer a rich and meaty filling, beef and red chili are perfect choices. The tender beef is cooked in a flavorful red chili sauce, resulting in a filling that is packed with smoky and spicy flavors.
  • Seafood: If you’re a seafood lover, you can experiment with fillings like shrimp or crab. The delicate flavors of seafood add a unique twist to your tamales and are sure to impress your guests.

Now that you have a variety of filling options for your tamales nejos, it’s time to get creative in the kitchen. Whether you choose a vegetarian or non-vegetarian filling, these tasty tamales are sure to be a hit at your next gathering.

So grab your masa, spread it on the corn husks, and let your imagination run wild with the filling options. Enjoy!

Assembling And Cooking Tamales Nejos

Making tamales is an art that has been passed down through generations. The process of assembling and cooking tamales nejos requires love, patience, and attention to detail. In this section, we will guide you through the steps of spreading the masa dough on the corn husks and adding the desired filling to create the perfect tamale shape.

Spreading The Masa Dough On The Corn Husks

  • Prepare the corn husks: Start by soaking the corn husks in warm water for about 30 minutes until they become pliable.
  • Make the masa dough: In a large bowl, combine masa harina, water or broth, melted lard or vegetable shortening, and salt. Mix well until a smooth and slightly firm dough is formed.
  • Spread the masa dough: Take a soaked corn husk and pat it dry with a clean towel. Place it on a flat surface with the wider end facing you. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of masa dough onto the center of the husk.
  • Spread the masa: Using the back of a spoon or a spatula, spread the masa dough evenly over the surface of the husk, leaving a border of about 1/2 inch around the edges. Ensure the layer of masa is thin and even.

Adding The Desired Filling And Folding The Husks

  • Choose your filling: Tamales nejos can be filled with a variety of ingredients such as shredded meat, cheese, beans, or vegetables. Select your desired filling and set it aside.
  • Add the filling: Spoon a small amount of filling onto the center of the masa dough, leaving enough space to fold the tamale. Be careful not to overfill, as it may cause the tamale to burst during cooking.
  • Fold the husks: To create the tamale shape, fold the left side of the husk toward the center, then fold the right side over the left. Finally, fold the bottom of the husk upward, securing the filling within the tamale.
  • Tie with a strip of husk: To prevent the tamale from unfolding during cooking, secure it by tying a strip of soaked corn husk around the folded end. This will help maintain the shape as the tamales steam.
  • Repeat the process: Continue spreading the masa dough, adding the desired filling, and folding the husks until all the ingredients are used.

Cooking the tamales nejos:

  • Place the tamales in a steamer: Arrange the tamales vertically in a steamer basket, ensuring they are tightly packed without overcrowding. If you don’t have a steamer basket, you can use a large pot with a steamer insert or a makeshift steamer using a heat-proof plate and a small amount of water.
  • Steam the tamales: Fill the bottom of the steamer or pot with water, making sure it doesn’t touch the tamales. Cover with a lid and steam on medium heat for about 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the masa is cooked and firm.
  • Check for doneness: To check if the tamales are cooked, carefully remove one from the steamer and let it cool before unwrapping. The masa dough should be firm and hold its shape.
  • Serve and enjoy: Once the tamales are cooked and cooled slightly, unwrap the husks and serve them warm. Tamales nejos can be enjoyed on their own or accompanied by salsa, guacamole, or sour cream. So savor the flavors of these traditional delights and savor every delicious bite.

Now that you know the process of assembling and cooking tamales nejos, you’re ready to embark on this culinary adventure. Get your corn husks, masa dough, and fillings ready, and let the tamale-making journey begin!

Steaming Tamales Nejos

Detail The Steaming Process For Cooking Tamales Nejos

Steaming tamales is a crucial step in the cooking process as it ensures that they are cooked through and have the desired texture. Steaming allows the masa dough to transform into a fluffy, moist, and flavorful delight. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to steam tamales nejos to perfection:

  • Prep the steamer: Fill the bottom of a large steamer pot with water, ensuring that the water does not touch the steamer rack. Place the steamer rack inside the pot.
  • Prepare the tamales: Once you have assembled your tamales, stack them in the steamer vertically with the folded end facing downwards. Make sure to leave some space between each tamale to allow for steam circulation.
  • Add flavor: For an aromatic touch, you can line the steamer rack with corn husks or banana leaves before adding the tamales. This technique infuses the tamales with additional fragrance and flavor.
  • Steam away: Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and turn the heat to medium-high. Allow the water to come to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the tamales steam for about 1.5 to 2 hours. Ensure a steady flow of steam throughout the cooking process by periodically checking the water level in the pot and adding more water as needed.
  • Test for doneness: To check if the tamales are ready, carefully remove one from the steamer using tongs. Unwrap the corn husk or banana leaf and observe if the masa dough pulls away from it easily. The dough should be firm and cooked through without any raw spots. If needed, steam for additional time until fully cooked.
  • Let them rest: Once the tamales are cooked to perfection, remove them from the steamer and allow them to rest for a few minutes. This resting period helps the tamales to firm up slightly and become easier to handle.
  • Serve and enjoy: Finally, unwrap the tamales, revealing the delectable filling encased within the tender masa. Serve them hot with your favorite salsa, guacamole, or other accompaniments. Get ready to savor the flavors of these traditional tamales nejos!

Remember, proper steaming is the key to achieving a well-cooked and flavorful tamale. So, take your time, follow the steps, and enjoy the delicious results of your steamed tamales nejos!

Serving And Enjoying Tamales Nejos

Tamales nejos, a traditional mexican dish, are not only delicious but also visually appealing. The presentation plays a crucial role in enhancing the overall dining experience. In this section, we will discuss different ways to garnish and serve tamales nejos for an enticing presentation.

We will also provide suggestions for accompaniments that pair well with this delectable dish. Let’s dive in!

Garnishing And Serving Tamales Nejos

When it comes to serving tamales nejos, there are a plethora of options to make them visually appealing. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Plating: Arrange the tamales neatly on a plate, making sure to showcase their vibrant colors. You can stack them in a pyramid formation or arrange them in a row for an eye-catching display.
  • Fresh herbs: Sprinkle some fresh cilantro or parsley on top of the tamales to add a touch of greenery and freshness.
  • Citrus zest: Grate some lime or orange zest over the tamales to bring a burst of citrus aroma and flavor.
  • Crumbled queso fresco: Sprinkle crumbled queso fresco, a mild and creamy mexican cheese, on top of the tamales to add a delightful savory element and enhance their texture.
  • Sliced avocado: Place thin slices of ripe avocado on the side of the tamales for a creamy and buttery accompaniment.

Sauce And Side Dish Pairings

To elevate the flavors of tamales nejos, serving them with complementary sauces, salsas, or side dishes is a great idea. Consider the following suggestions:

  • Salsa verde: This tangy and slightly spicy green salsa adds a zesty kick to the tamales. Its fresh flavors from tomatillos, jalapenos, cilantro, and lime juice make it a perfect accompaniment.
  • Red chili sauce: With its rich and smoky flavors, red chili sauce pairs exceptionally well with tamales nejos. Its deep red color adds visual appeal to the plate.
  • Mexican rice: Serve tamales nejos with a side of flavorful mexican rice. The combination of the tender tamales with the fluffy and aromatic rice is a match made in culinary heaven.
  • Refried beans: Creamy refried beans provide a comforting and satisfying side dish to complement the flavorful tamales. Their smooth texture and earthy flavors create a delightful contrast.
  • Jicama salad: For a refreshing side dish, consider a crunchy jicama salad. Combine jicama, cucumber, carrot, and lime juice for a crisp and tangy accompaniment to balance the richness of the tamales.

The presentation and pairing of tamales nejos are essential for an enjoyable dining experience. By garnishing them creatively and serving with complementary sauces or side dishes, you can elevate their flavors and make them visually enticing. Experiment with different options to find your perfect combination.

So, go ahead and indulge in a delightful journey of flavors with tamales nejos!

Frequently Asked Questions Of Tamales Nejos Recipe

How Long Does It Take To Cook Tamales Nejos?

Tamales nejos typically take around 3 to 4 hours to cook, including preparation and steaming time. This traditional mexican dish requires patience but is well worth the wait for its delicious flavors and tender texture.

What Ingredients Are Needed For Tamales Nejos?

To make tamales nejos, you will need masa harina (corn flour), pork, chili sauce, various spices, banana leaves or corn husks for wrapping, and water. These ingredients come together to create a flavorful and satisfying dish that is loved by many.

Can I Make Tamales Nejos Without Pork?

Yes, if you prefer a vegetarian or alternative protein option, you can customize tamales nejos by substituting the pork with ingredients like chicken, beef, or even beans. The key is to ensure the filling is well-seasoned and complements the masa dough.

Are Tamales Nejos Gluten-Free?

Yes, tamales nejos can be made gluten-free by using masa harina that is specifically labeled as gluten-free. It’s important to check the labels of all the ingredients used to ensure they are gluten-free to accommodate those with dietary restrictions.

Can I Freeze Tamales Nejos For Later?

Absolutely! Tamales nejos freeze well and can be stored in the freezer for up to three months. Simply wrap them individually in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, place them in a freezer-safe container, and thaw them before reheating for a delicious meal anytime.

What Are Some Traditional Accompaniments To Tamales Nejos?

Tamales nejos are often served with traditional mexican condiments such as salsa verde, queso fresco, sour cream, and guacamole. These condiments add a burst of flavor and richness that complement the taste of the tamales perfectly.


In a nutshell, the tamales nejos recipe is a traditional mexican dish that is sure to delight your taste buds. With its flavorful blend of corn masa, tender meat, and fragrant spices, it’s a dish that showcases the rich culinary heritage of mexico.

Whether you’re a seasoned cook or just starting out in the kitchen, this recipe is accessible and easy to follow. By following the step-by-step instructions and tips provided, you’ll be able to create a memorable meal that will have your friends and family coming back for seconds.

So, next time you’re in the mood for a taste of mexico, give the tamales nejos recipe a try. You won’t be disappointed! Happy cooking!


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