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Veracruz-style chicken tamales: Tamales rojos veracruzanos con pollo by Karen Hursh Graber © 2006

I first had these many years ago in the main plaza of the port of Veracruz. We'd stayed out so late listening to the wonderful local musicians that it was morning already and we were starving. The only food available was from the early-morning tamal vendor. It might have been because were so hungry, but these tamales tasted heavenly and have remained my very favorites ever since.


  • 1 package banana leaves, cut into 24 8" x 12" rectangles
  • 1 recipe dough for Basic Tamales,
  • 6 roma tomatoes
  • 4 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1/2 medium white onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lard or corn oil
  • 4-5 fresh jalapeño chiles, seeded and chopped, or use canned jalapeños
  • 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken


Prepare leaves and dough as instructed in recipe for Basic Tamales.

Roast the tomatoes and garlic on a comal or griddle until the tomato skins blister and the garlic skins turn brown.

Peel the tomatoes and garlic and puree briefly in a blender. Do not overblend, since sauce should have some texture.

Heat the lard or corn oil in a medium skillet, add the onion and cook 5 minutes. Add the tomato mixture and the jalapeños and cook another 5 minutes. Add the chicken, mix well, and remove from heat. Allow filling to cool to room temperature.

Fill, wrap and steam following the directions for Basic Tamales.

Makes 12.

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Published or Updated on: January 1, 2006 by Karen Hursh Graber © 2008
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Follow Karen as she travels through the Central Mexican state of Puebla, meeting local cooks, tasting the food, and collecting recipes. With over 75 recipes, plus sections on ingredients and cooking techniques, the book takes the reader on a journey through one of Mexico's oldest and most renowned culinary regions. It can be ordered online.

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