These sweet potato tamales are served as street food in Mexico. We enjoy wrapping them with a group of friends, but if you are short on time or don't have tamale husks you can make an easy meal by stuffing a baked sweet potato with feta, chipotle en adobo, and coridander.
We often feature tamales on our
Mexican cooking courses, so keep an eye on upcoming courses if you want to perfect your tamale technique!
Sweet Potato Tamales
Dietary: wheat free, vegan if you omit the cheese and use dairy free alternatives in the masa dough
- 16 large fresh or dried sweetcorn husks
For the masa:
- 100g masa harina
- 25g butter, softened
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 25mls milk
- 50mls vegetable stock
For the filling:
- 100g feta cheese
- 4 small or 2 medium sweet potatoes, washed but not peeled
- Chipotle en Adobo to taste
- Chopped coriander
- Juice of half a lime
- Salt and pepper
- Bake the sweet potatoes in a hot oven until they are cooked through when you poke them with a sharp knife. This will take about an hour depending on the size of the vegetable. Allow to cool slightly before scooping out the cooked centre and mashing well with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lime. You can keep the skins and roast them until crispy to use as dippers for your Mexican meal.
- To prepare the sweet corn husks, if fresh, carefully peel the husks off the cobs and place in a saucepan of boiling water and simmer for 5minutes, drain and leave to cool. If using dried husks soak them in hot water for 30 minutes. When they are soft rinse them under running water as you separate them. Lay them flat on a plate and keep them covered with a damp cloth.
- To prepare the masa, beat the softened butter in a mixing bowl, until soft and fluffy. Mix the masa harina with the salt and baking powder. Beat some of the dry mixture into the butter and then add a little milk then some more dry mix, then some stock until everything is combined. The masa should be the consistency of scone dough, soft and pliable, if too dry and a little more milk, if too wet a little more masa harina. This makes enough masa for 8 tamales at 30g each.
- To assemble the tamales, sort out the 8 best biggest and untorn husks. Lay a husk on the table with the fat end away from you. Place a sausage of masa (30g) in the middle of the husk, starting at 1cm from the fat end press the masa down leaving a border down each side, big enough so that the husk can wrap over the filling. Press the masa down to about 2/3rds down the husk and flatten the sausage.
- Top the masa sausage with the fillings, leaving a border around the sides filling free so that you can wrap the masa over the filling. Top the middle of the masa sausage with mashed sweet potato and then a layer of the Chipotle en Adobo (you can use this to your taste, remember it is very spicy!) and crumble on some of the feta. Carefully fold the sides of the masa over the filling so the masa looks like a sausage.
- Lay a spare husk over the filling, wrap the sides of the husk around the filling, and turn the thin end up so that you end up with a package with the thin end sealed and the fat end open. Tear a thin strip off a long husk and tie around the middle and knot to hold the tamale together.
- Steam the tamales in a vegetable steamer. Cover the bottom of the steamer with some left over husks, place the tamales standing upright and fill the spaces between them with wads of silver foil. Cover the top with a lid or cover with silver foil. Steam the tamales for 45 minutes. You can tell when they are done because the masa will be soft and sponge like. Serve them as soon as possible, before the masa becomes stodgy with rice, with Chipotle en Adobo and salsas.