Tamales Oaxaqueños (Recipe for Tamales from Oaxaca)

The tamal from Oaxaca is slighly more complicated to prepare, as to make them you will need some Mole, a sauce which this region is notorious for, such as the Oaxaca Black Mole or Mole Negro, as an ingredient. But to save some work, I suggest using the ready made mole paste from a latin products store, as this will save a considerable amount of time in making these tamales.  It is the use of this mole from Oaxaca that definitely sets this one apart from the other tamales; another feature is the fact that they are traditionally wrapped in banana leaves, in squares, unlike most mexican tamales which are frequently wrapped in corn husks.

Tamal de Mole

How to make the Tamales from Oaxaca:


5 big banana leaves, washed
1 Onion
4 cloves garlic
1 whole chicken
1 pound (500 g) pork leg meat
1 store bought Oaxaca style container, or homemade: (Mole Negro Recipe)
1/2 pound (250 g) lard,
2 pounds (7 cups) Corn Flour for Tamales
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons of tequesquite (if available)
salt to your taste


Dip the banana leaves in boiling water for a few seconds; this is important as it will make them pliable. Unroll the banana leaves, dry them off and cut them up into 6 inch X 6 inch squares approximately

Boil the pork leg meat in water, just enough to barely cover it, with garlic and the chopped onion. Once finished cooking discard the water and reserve the pork meat.

Cooking the chicken: to speed things up cut your chicken in two halves and plunge it in water (with one tsp salt), which you will bring to a boil. Cook your chicken this way and when it is ready, take out the chicken from the water and save the broth; this will become the broth we need later on. Allow the meat and chicken to cool, take out chicken's and pork's bones and cut their meat to medium sized chunks. As I wrote earlier, have the chicken broth ready for the next step.

Mix your Oaxaca Mole with that chicken broth as you bring it to a boil, stirring constantly until you get a thick sauce.  Add to this sauce the chicken and pork chunks...

Beat the lard to make it soft and spongy.  Add the lard to the tamal corn flour and knead them together.  While beating the masa, spkinkle the tequesquite in that dough. Keep kneading and rolling the dough until a little chunk of it would float in water instead of sinking to the bottom of a glass.

Spread your banana tree leaf squares; put in the middle of each one a chunk of the mixed tamal dough and some meat and chicken oaxaca sauce.  Leave room for you to be able to close the banana tree leaves, the dough will expand but not too much.  Add another banana tree leaf on top and tie up your tamales tightly enough, using twine rope.  Keep your tamales square, if you want to follow tradition.

Arrange them in a steamer or proper tamalera, and cook them with steam for about 1 hour, making sure the steamer never runs out of water.
A trick to make sure there is water in the steamer: drop a metallic piece of some sort at the bottom; as the water boils and moves the metal, this will make clinking noises.  When the clinking noises stops this means there no longer is any water!

You know your tamales are ready when, when opening one its leaves they come off easily from the dough.  One hour steaming should be perfect for this.

Serve your Tamales Oaxaqueños while hot, or save for later in the refrigerator.

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