Chicken Livers Cooked in Corn Husks: Tamal de Higado

articles Food & Cuisine Recipes

Karen Hursh Graber

Although it contains no corn dough, this dish is called a tamal because of its cornhusk wrapping. Chicken livers are popular in Mexico, and in Oaxaca they are a traditional food at weddings. This recipe, however, is from the central part of the country rather than the south and is meant to be served as the meat course at the main meal.


  • 1 pound chicken livers, washed and finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch dried corn husks, soaked overnight, drained and dried


Place chicken livers in a bowl mix in cilantro, salt and pepper, and set aside.

In a small skillet, melt the butter and sauté the chopped onion until transparent. Mix the onion with the chicken livers, making sure to scrape all the melted butter into the mixture.

Lay 2 of the cornhusks side by side, overlapping by about 1″. Spread 2-3 tablespoons of filling down the center of the overlapping husks. Fold both sides of the cornhusks over the filling. Fold ends toward the middle and secure by tying with kitchen twine or strips of cornhusks.

These may be baked in a 400º preheated oven or roasted on a comal or griddle, turning once in either case, until the husks are charred on both sides, by which time the chicken liver mixture will have cooked through. One of the tamales may be opened to check for doneness before removing all of them from the oven or griddle.

Makes about 12 tamales, 4-6 servings.

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Published or Updated on: January 1, 2004 by Karen Hursh Graber © 2008
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