Tamales de Rajas y Requeson (Roasted Poblano Tamales) #SundaySupper

Homemade Tamales de Rajas from scratch - lacocinadeleslie.com

This week's #SundaySupper is Stuffed, Rolled, and Wrapped, hosted by kimchi MOM. Here in Mexico we have plenty of stuffed, rolled, and wrapped foods to choose from like tacos, gorditas, burritos, and enchiladas. The possibilities are endless. But honestly there was really only one thing I had in mind for this week's #SundaySupper theme...tamales! Tamales de Rajas con Requeson to be exact. Rajas are roasted poblano pepper strips, and requeson is like a Mexican ricotta cheese. Together they are a match made in heaven.

I know that the idea of making tamales from scratch can seem intimidating. If that's been the case for you, then this is the tamal recipe for you. Seriously, I don't think recipes for tamales can get any easier. (For easy to follow step-by-step instructions with photos on how to make tamales, see my recipe for Shredded Pork Tamales.) 

Tamales de Rajas con Requeson are a delicious meatless alternative for Lent.

Tamales de Rajas y Requeson - lacocinadeleslie.com

Tamales de Rajas y Requeson

  • 12 to 15 fresh poblano peppers 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced 
  • 2 cups requeson or crumbled queso fresco
  • 4 cups masa harina (I use Maseca brand) 
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 cup manteca (lard or shortening) 
  • 3 cups chicken broth, warm 
  • 24 large dried corn husks 

Roast the poblano peppers on a comal or griddle, until the skin is completely charred. (You can also roast the peppers in your broiler.) Place the roasted poblano peppers in a plastic or paper bag; let set for 5 to 10 minutes. (This causes the peppers to sweat, making it much easier to remove the skin.) Remove the charred skin, seeds, and stems from the chiles. Cut into thin slices. 

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced onion and chiles and saute for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt. Set filling aside until ready to use. 

In a large bowl, cover the corn husks with boiling water.  Cover and let set for about an hour or until the corn husks are soft and pliable. Rinse the corn husks with cold water to remove any dirt and residue.  Pat the corn husks with a kitchen towel until completely dry.  (Masa doesn't stick to wet corn husks.) 

Prepare the masa by combining the masa harina, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream the manteca (lard) with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. (Light and fluffy manteca makes for light and fluffy tamales.)

With your electric mixer still on medium-high, beat in the masa harina, one cup at a time until no dry bits of masa harina are visible. (Mixture will be grainy.)  Reduce the electric mixer speed to low and stir in 3 cups of warm chicken broth until it has all been absorbed. Using your hands, press the mixture together to form a dough.

Spoon about 1/4 cup of masa (dough) onto each corn husk.  You could spread the masa with a spoon, but I think it's much easier to flatten it with your fingertips.  A good rule of thumb is to flatten the masa to about a 1/8-inch thickness across two-thirds of the corn husk, leaving a 1/4-inch space on one side and the top, and about a 3-inch space at the bottom. 

Spoon desired amount of roasted poblano strips and a heaping tablespoon of requeson (or queso fresco down the center of the masaStarting at the 1/4-inch edge, gently fold your tamal in thirds, then tuck in the ends. (This is the easiest way to wrap tamales. The process will get easier with each tamal you make. Practice makes perfect!)  Place the tamales seam-side down on a large plate, until you've finished with all of the tamales.  

Fill the bottom of an 8 to 10-quart vaporera (tamal steamer) just to the bottom of the ridge where the steamer insert rests.  Place the insert inside the tamal steamer and arrange the tamales loosely so the steam can circulate.  Cover and cook over high heat for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer for 45 minute to an hour. (If you don't own a tamal steamer, don't worry.  You can cook your tamales in an 8 quart pot on the stove with enough water around the tamales that comes up about 1/3 of the way.) Remove from heat and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes, uncovered, before serving. 

To serve, remove corn husks from tamales. Drizzle tamales with Mexican crema and/or your favorite salsa. (I topped mine w/ Chile de Molcajete.) Enjoy!

Yields 24 tamales

How to make Tamales de Rajas from scratch - lacocinadeleslie.com

For more Stuffed, Rolled, and Wrapped recipes check out this week's #SundaySupper line-up:

Starters and Snacks
Entrees and Mains
All things Sweet

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement


  1. Leslie, I want to come and visit you in Mexico just so that I can try this dish! Looks fantastic.

  2. I love this recipe and I love it when you share original Mexican recipes... so different than what people think or know... ;-)

  3. Tamales are on my bucket list to make at home! I love this recipe! It looks just incredible!!

  4. Some day I will attempt to make my own tamales.

  5. I have a friend who was asking for a website with great Mexican recipes and I recommended yours because everything you post always looks and sounds amazing! I love this!

  6. I adore Mexican dishes! This looks so good!

  7. Please invite me to your house for tamales! Both versions sound incredible!!!

  8. Those look amazing, I would never think of making them myself, thanks for showing me how!!

  9. Oh gosh Leslie, your recipes get my mouth watering every time. Dang, now I'm craving tamales...

  10. You are making me think that even I can make tamales. These are soooo gorgeous. I wish we lived closer…I would come for lessons…AND snacks!

  11. I took a Mexican cooking class in New Mexico a few years ago and one morning was spent making tamales. What a lot of fun it was! Great idea for this week's theme - they look wonderful!!!

  12. When I lived in San Diego I used to get tamales from our neighbors Grandmother, but never learned to make them. Sadly, since I have moved to Washington, I have not had another one. Thank you for this fabulous recipe, maybe I will take the bull b the horns and give them a try!

  13. I've had fresh tamales once, but they are hard to come by in upstate New York. I guess I'll just have to make my own! (and your photos are fabulous!)

  14. So I just found out that a vendor I work with for my business is trying to get queso fresco in stock!!! I really hope it works out, these tamales look incredible and I just have to make them.

  15. I just recently discovered tamales for the first time and I am utterly obsessed. The texture is out of this world...I love your rendition with poblanos. Sounds amazing!

  16. Leslie, sit down for this announcement: I've never eaten a tamale before. Shocking, right?! Unfortunately, there aren't many good Mexican restaurants in Vancouver (in my opinion). I guess I'll have to try your recipes and make them myself at home! I love how flavourful this sounds and a big heaping side of that delicious rice would be a perfect meal.

  17. Making tamales is on my culinary bucket list. I absolutely love them! These vegetarian ones look great!

  18. Always love seeing the spin you put on recipes and this is no exception!

  19. Tamales are one of my favorite things on earth, and yet I rarely make them at home. Why??? I'll have to change that very soon. Thanks for posting!

  20. What about the cinnamon sick? What becomes of it? I've had some where the stick is scattered within the pudding and its bothersome, others strain it, What would you suggest?

  21. Remove the cinnamon stick right before you add the sugar, otherwise it will be in a hundred pieces in your finished pudding

  22. Thank you so much! My mom and grandma always made this when I was a kid but never had actual measurements of the ingredients. This recipe tastes JUST like what I remember growing up. I've shared it with all of my cousins. This morning I experimented using soy milk and Splenda for a vegan/diabetic friendly version - still came out delicious! Thank you thank you thank you!

  23. really bad, at the very least medium grain rice but no instant rice or any other variety, the flavor will be off

  24. I used two cups of milk instead of four and it was just perfect. The consistency and sweetness was exactly what I wanted. Perfect recipe for Arroz con Leche. Thank you!

  25. Leslie, again!! This recipe was absolutely fabulous and delicious!! The idea of making tamales was absolutely tiring for me. I remember seeing my mother spending hours and hours making the tamales but as I was making them, the time went very fast. I followed the recipe just as written and I am very very satisfied with it (being my first time). Thank you again for sharing your delicious recipes and creating good eats for my family and I !!!

  26. Just made some my four year old and she looooves it! Thank you, love the easy recipe, no need for other ingredients I have seen in other recipes.

  27. My favorite! ! The bf and I enjoy this recipe very much!