Recipe for Tamales with Chipilín

What is Chipilín, you ask? When mature, chipilín is a plant that makes a short bush; by US standards, chipilín is an undesireable plant, due to its tendancy to proliferate and invade. In southern Mexican states such as Oaxaca, Tabasco and especially Chiapas and in central american countries, chipilín is used to give their local dishes that unique flavour that defines them; chipilín is never eaten raw.

Mexican Tamales with chipilin

Recipe for chipilín Tamales:

Making this recipe requires:

1 lb. of Lard
4 lb. dry corn masa type flour (Nixtamal)
40 Corn husks (Totomoxtle)
3-4 Bunches fresh chepil or chipilín, to taste
2 cups liquid chicken broth
Salt to taste

Ingredients for the Accompanying Salsa:

1 cup chicken broth
1 lb. red tomatoes; Washed, chopped down and mashed
5 Guajillo Chiles Roasted and deveined
1 clove garlic
¼ onion
Salt to taste


1. Wash the bunch of chipilín, and separare the leaves from their stems. Then, in a large bowl, beat the lard for about 20 minutes until it has slightly thickened.

2. Add gradually the corn masa to the bowl while continuing to beat vigorously for 10 minutes, this will allow the corn dough to become fluffy when steamed in the corn husks.

3. Now gradually pour the chicken broth, avoid making the dough too liquid; make sure that the dough is thick and can easily be handled.

4. Chop the chipilín (or chepil) leaves very finely, not forgetting to discard the stems. Add them to the dough; about 2-3 full tablespoons.

5. Continue kneading the dough so that all the ingredients are smoothly mixed. Soak the corn husks in water for 20 minutes until they become flexible, drain and fill them with 2-3 tablespoons each of that dough we just did.

6. Wrap the leaves and fold the ends, then arrange your tamales in a steamer, then steam for an hour and half.

Preparation of the red salsa:

A. Cook the tomatoes with the garlic and onion, until the tomatoes have dissolved completely into a sauce.

B. Blend with one cup liquid chicken broth, chiles and salt to taste.

Pour this salsa in a bowl and serve with your chipilín tamales; If you want you can also serve with some mexican crumbled cheese (queso fresco); always a favorite!

a hot pepper