February 23, 2012

Making tamales in Norway

YES ladies and gentlemen it is possible to make tamales in Norway!
A few days ago my Mexican friends and I got together to make some tamales and oh boy were they good! The only downfall is that they weren't 100% Mexican tamales. We did what we could with what we had and what we could find.
My friend Andrea, brought back some dried corn husk from Mexico, so that at least was authentic. Here in Norway you can buy banana tree leaves from the international shops and its works just the same.
For the "dough" we used the corn meal imported from Venezuela, you can find it in most international food shops.If you find white corn meal, then go for it, you cant be too picky being so far away, however I would add a bit of chili powder to add some color to it. (Make sure you don't buy cornmeal with polenta)
This is the one we used. PAN corn meal.

     We made two types of tamales, vegetarian and chicken. However you can make them out of beef, pork, chiles and cheese, be creative!


*1kg PAN cornmeal
*2quarts of water (19dl)
*4 Knorr chicken stock cubes
*227 grams lard (you can go to the butchers and ask for rendered pork lard which works the best, or you  can use shortening (Flott)
*1 tbsp bake pulver
*1/2 tbsp salt
*1 finely shredded chicken
*1 bottle of La CosteƱa Salsa Verde



First you need to put the corn husks or the banana leaves to soak in warm water for up to an hour so that they become flexible to fold without breaking.  

Pour corn meal, salt and bake pulver into a large bowl. Mix and set aside.
On medium-high heat pour water into a pot and add the chicken stock cubes. Wait until they dissolve.
In a saucepan add the lard/shortening and melt on low heat.
Once the lard/shortening is melted, pour it into the corn meal and mix with a large wooden spoon until it is all soaked up by the corn meal. Then slowly add the water with the chicken stock. Alternate between pouring and mixing. You may not need to use all the water. Add enough so that the dough is a bit sticky to the touch. It shouldn't be watery and you should be able to mold it. Discard any left over water. This is the hard part. now you have to mix the dough for maybe 10 minutes. Use the spoon until it is cool enough to mix with your hands. The point is to try and get as much air in it as possible. The more you knead the better. Once your hands are dead tired, we can proceed to the next step. 

Remove the corn husks or banana leaves from the water. It is time to fill them up. You will add about a spoonful of chicken and a spoonful of the green salsa.
Since it could get a bit complicated and confusing to explain this. Here is a video on how to fill up the tamales. 



 This next video shows how to fill them up and fold them if using the banana leaves. A good size would be 12in x 12in. They have many filling in this next video. But we will be simple and just use chicken.




  The best way to cook them is to take a HUGE pot, and place a vegetable steamer at the bottom. Pour some water into the pot, make sure you add just enough water to the bottom of the pan so the water doesn't touch the tamales. Check it often so the water doesn't run dry, this is important. You can then place the tamales inside. Place a damp cotton towel over the top of the tamales and cover with the lid. This helps create more steam. Get the water to boil and then turn the heat to low. Simmer/steam for 1 1/2 hours. Every 20 minutes take some tongs and take the tamales that are in the middle and place them on the outside. The tamales that are hidden in the middle get less steam. After 1 1/2 hours check the tamales by removing one and letting it cool for 5 minutes. Open the hot tamale and check that the dough is firm and not mushy. If need be, cook a little longer and check every 15 minutes until done. When tamales are done take them out of the pot to cool on the counter. I recommend using tongs for this, they will be very hot. Now you can enjoy and stuff your face with your own homemade tamales!


 For the dessert tamales we only used pineapple. But you can add coconut flakes to it, or just use raisins. Its up to you, back home we would only use pineapple and coconut flakes

*1kg PAN cornmeal
*2quarts of water (19dl)
*227 grams lard/shortening
*1 tbsp bake pulver
*1/2 tbsp salt
*1 tbsp cinnamon
*2 cups of fine granulate sugar
*1 can of sweetened condensed milk
*Either 1 pineapple cut into small tiny pieces. Pineapple and 1cup of coconut flakes. Or just raisins

Follow the same instructions as with the chicken tamales minus the chicken stock cubes, chicken and green salsa. Just add the pineapple, coconut flakes or raisins.

After you have made your tamales, give yourself a pat on the back. The tamales recipe is perfect served with refried beans and rice. Don't forget to add a little guacamole and salsa.
If there is any confusion in this recipe please email me or leave a comment.
Again this recipe is not for authentic Mexican tamales.


  1. i used to date a mexican-american guy who lived in CA and i swear his family specialized in tamales (the mexican side). i am pretty sure that is why i stayed with him as long as i did!!!!

    1. Instead of Gold digger sound like you were a food digger!

  2. May I know which shop you got thhe cornmeal from? I have been looking for cornmeal but no luck in finding one. Thanks in advance!


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