Tamales are masa dough filled with savoury or sweet fillings and wrapped in corn husks then steamed. In this non-traditional version, katsu sauce, a savory-sweet Japanese condiment, flavours the chicken filling and the picante sauce accompaniment.
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 1/4 hours
Makes 12 servings


  • Chicken Filling:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon McCormick® Garlic Salt

  • 500g boneless skinless chicken thighs

  • 2/3 cup katsu sauce *

  • 3 tablespoons caster sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Ground Paprika

  • Tamales:

  • 18 corn husks (fresh or dried)

  • 2/3 cup lard or vegetable shortening

  • 2 cups masa harina (masa flour)*

  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Oregano Leaves, finely crushed

  • 1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Garlic Salt

  • 1 1/4 cups (325ml) chicken stockor water

  • Katsu Picante Sauce:

  • 2/3 cup katsu sauce

  • 1/4 cup chopped grape or cherry tomatoes

  • 1/4 cup chopped onion

  • 1 teaspoon chopped seeded jalapeño pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Oregano Leaves

  • 1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Ground Paprika


  • 1.

    For the Chicken Filling, mix oil and garlic salt in medium bowl. Add chicken; turn to coat. Grill chicken over medium-high heat 6 to 7 minutes per side or until cooked through. Cool slightly then finely chop. Mix chicken, katsu sauce, sugar and paprika until well blended. Set aside.

  • 2.

    For the Tamales, soak corn husks in hot water 30 minutes or overnight until soft and pliable. Melt lard in medium saucepan on low heat. Mix masa harina, oregano and garlic salt in large bowl until well blended. Add lard and stock; mix to form a moist dough. Drain corn husks and pat dry. Cut 2 of the larger corn husks into 12 thin strips for the tamale ties.

  • 3.

    To assemble each tamale, spread 3 tablespoons masa dough (4 1/2 x 8cm rectangle) at the wide end of husk. Spoon 2 tablespoons Chicken Filling in center of masa. Bring long sides of husk up to enclose filling with masa. Roll husk around tamale. (Do not roll husk into masa.) Fold up the narrow end of the husk, keeping the top end of the tamale open. Tie tamale with husk strip.

  • 4.

    Pour 2cm of water into large pot. Bring to boil. Stand tamales with open ends up in steamer basket. Cover tamales with a layer of remaining 4 husks. Insert steamer basket in pot. Cover. Steam on medium heat 1 hour or until husk peels away easily from tamale and masa is slightly firm. (Tamales will continue to firm up when removed from heat.)

  • 5.

    For the Katsu Picante Sauce, place all ingredients in blender container; cover. Blend until smooth. Serve with tamales.

  • TIPS: * Katsu sauce is a Japanese condiment that typically accompanies tonkatsu, a fried breaded pork cutlet. It can be found in the Asian aisle of some supermarkets or in an Asian market. * Masa harina is the flour made from dried corn kernels that have been soaked in limewater. It is used to prepare corn tortillas, tamales, pupusas and gorditas. Masa harina can be found in the flour section in some American supermarkets. Dried corn husks are available in some International markets. :


Nutrition Information Per Serving: 296 Calories, Fat 16g, Protein 9g, Carbohydrates 29g, Cholesterol 40mg, Sodium 788mg, Fiber 2g

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