Vegetarian Tamales de Rajas con Queso

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3.7 from 6 reviews


  • 1 bag dried corn husks
  • 3 cups dry masa harina
  • 2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup soft butter (12 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 12 teaspoons salt
  • Filling
  • 23 poblano peppers
  • 1/2 pound Monterey Jack, Oaxacan, Asadero or Manchego cheese
  • 1 cup salsa verde


  1. Begin soaking the husks in hot water.
  2. Get a large pot, put a penny in the bottom and a steamer basket or tray.
  3. Mix masa harina with 2 cups of broth. Add more if necessary to get it fully dampened. Let sit 5-15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, beat the butter, oil, and salt together on medium speed until smooth; about 3 minutes. Add the masa a bit at a time until it’s incorporated. Add more broth if necessary. Beat until smooth and soft, about the appearance and texture of hummus. Test it by dropping a small spoonful into a glass of water. The ball should float when the masa has the right amount of air whipped into it. Cover and set aside while you roast the peppers. Place them under the broiler or over a gas stove until blistered all over. Transfer to a bowl and cover. Let cool. This steaming allows you to remove the skin better. Peel and cut them into strips.
  5. Cut the cheese into strips.
  6. Add water to the large pot, just up to the bottom of the steamer rack. Layer soaked husks (can be the ugly ones) all over the bottom and up the sides. Turn the heat to low and put a lid on the pot.
  7. Open a soaked husk, place the smoothest side up, pointy side closest to you. Spread a heaping tablespoon of masa over the center of the wide end of the husk. (see video for demo)
  8. Spread a tablespoon of salsa over that, then a couple strips of poblano and cheese.
  9. Fold the right side over, left side over, bottom up. Tie with a strip of husk if necessary.
  10. When all tamales are made, place then in the pot. Cover and increase heat to medium. You should hear the penny jingling. If it stops, you need to add more hot water. Pour it in along the side of the pot, not on top of the the tamales.
  11. Let them steam for 60-80 minutes, until firm. To check doneness, pull one out and let it cool a few minutes. If after that, it unwraps easily without sticking – the tamales are done!

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