Guatemalan Tamales with Romesco Sauce Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Guatemalan Tamales with Romesco Sauce

This is an ideal recipe for tamale newbies, because the tamales are simple to wrap and the flavor combination is sublime. Most Latin markets carry frozen banana leaves, and you’ll need eight 10-inch squares of foil. Serve with Mexican crema.

Ingredients: 

Ingredient Set Name: 

Masa

Ingredients: 

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3 ½ cups masa harina
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2 tsp. salt
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1 ½tsp. baking powder
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10 Tbs. cold vegetable shortening
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1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth

Ingredient Set Name: 

Filling

Ingredients: 

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3 poblano chiles
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2 Tbs. olive oil
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1 medium onion, chopped (1½ cups)
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⅔ cup golden raisins
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½ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
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½ tsp. dried oregano
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1 cup pitted green olives, sliced
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8 9-inch squares banana leaf

Ingredient Set Name: 

Romesco Sauce

Ingredients: 

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6 jarred piquillo peppers, drained (½ cup)
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3 Tbs. sherry vinegar
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1 Tbs. smoked paprika
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½ cup roasted almonds
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¼ cup plain breadcrumbs
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4 cloves garlic, peeled
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½ cup olive oil

Instructions: 

1. To make Masa: Combine masa harina, salt, and baking powder in bowl. Add 2 1/4 cups hot water, and beat on medium speed until mixture is crumbly. Increase speed to medium-high, and alternately add shortening and broth 1 Tbs. at a time. Beat 15 minutes, or until mixture is light and fluffy. (To test texture, drop 1 Tbs. masa into cold water. If it floats, it’s light enough.) Set aside.

2. To make Filling: Preheat oven to broil. Place chiles on baking sheet, and broil 8 to 10 minutes, or until blackened on all sides, turning occasionally. Place in bowl, cover with lid, and steam 15 minutes. Pull off charred skin by hand, and dip chiles in water to remove blackened bits. Remove stems, seeds, and veins, and cut chiles into 1/2-inch dice.

3. Meanwhile, heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and cook 10 minutes, or until browned. Add raisins, broth, oregano, and chopped poblanos; simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in olives. Cool.

4. To assemble tamales: Hold each banana leaf square briefly over low gas burner to soften. Place each banana leaf square shiny side up, atop 10-inch foil square. Spread 1/2 cup Masa in thin layer over center third of each banana leaf. Top with heaping 1 Tbs. Filling. Fold over sides and then ends of banana leaf to enclose filling in Masa, then wrap in foil square.

5. Stack tamales in steamer basket, and steam over simmering water 1 hour, or until Masa is just set and pulling away from banana leaves.

6. Meanwhile, to make Romesco Sauce: Purée peppers, sherry vinegar, and paprika in blender until smooth. Add almonds, breadcrumbs, and garlic, and purée until smooth. With blender motor running, add olive oil in steady stream until smooth sauce forms.

7. To serve: Remove and discard foil from tamales. Serve with Romesco Sauce.

Nutrition Information: 

Calories: 
433
Protein: 
6 g
Total Fat: 
29 g
Saturated Fat: 
5 g
Carbohydrates: 
41 g
Cholesterol: 
0 mg
Sodium: 
681 mg
Fiber: 
5 g
Sugar: 
7 g
Yield: 
Makes 12 tamales

Comments on this Recipe

I'm offended. As a proud guatemalan why do you have to serve it with Mexican crema. Just say sour cream! It just doesn't make sense to say that when these are guatemalan tamales.

Tamale Recipe

Seriously, who cares! Mexican crema is different than sour cream and goes great with tamales. Maybe it was just a suggestion based on what the author is used to buying. I have never seen "Guatemalan crema" just "crema Mexicana" at my grocery store. So whether you get crema or regular sour cream you will still be eating a delicious meal!

I'm so happy to see some vegan Guatemalan recipes thank you so much...

I am a proud Guatemalan chef and former vegetarian. We need to understand that this is a variation of our national Saturday night classic or the traditional Tamal Quetzalteco (the one eaten traditionally on Christmas time). I am a little confused by the use of baking powder but I do respect the way the creator made this recipe. If you are interested in a vegetarian version that is a little closer to our traditional ones, just drop me a line.

Ok I am from Guatemala and I am flattered. However this is not a guatemalan tamal. We have specific recipes for the sauce and recipes vary only in quantities of the same ingredients. I think this is more like a Tamal inspiration. We don't use poblano chilies in Guatemalan cooking. The red sauce has either guaque chily and or Chile pasa (raisin chily). Mexican stores carry only one of these the other one is not exported as far as I know.We also don't use oregano in traditional cooking. We don't eat tamales with cream. And we don't put onion in the Tamal, however the sauce has a little bit of onion. We also use another type of leaf outside and it gives a distictive flavor, its called mashan. This is why our food is different than mexican food! The romesco sauce definitely NOT from guatemala and we would not dare to put any other kind of sauce in our tamales! I think if anyone is making a recipe from another country if they don't have the key ingredients for Gods sakes make something else! Or you'll end up making "Italian" food like Rachael Ray!!!! All garlic and no italian. OR her version of mexican food that's not even mexican at all. For teh vegans you can make thsi exactly like the traditional real tamal from guatemala and skip the meat.