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Corn, Poblano and Cheese Tamales


You can find the banana leaves used to wrap these delicious Tamales with corn, roasted poblano peppers and cheese at Asian or Latin American markets. To serve, set tamale packets on plates, unwrap and drizzle with crema.

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  • 1/2 pound frozen banana leaves, thawed, rinsed and patted dry
  • 5 poblano chilies
  • 12 ounces mild white cheese (such as Chihuahua or Monterey Jack), cut into 3-inch sticks about 1/2 inch wide and thick
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels
  • 3 cups Maseca instant corn masa flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3/4 cups lard, melted
  • 3 cups warm water, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup Mexican crema, or sour cream thinned with a little milk


Servings 12
Adapted from


Step 1

Turn on broiler. Cut away stems and thick edges of banana leaves, then cut into 16 (8-by-10-inch) rectangles. Reserve remaining banana leaves.

Roast peppers:

Place chilies under broiler and roast, turning occasionally, until skin is blackened, about 5-8 minutes. Transfer chilies to a paper bag and close bag to allow chilies to steam. When chilies are cool enough to handle, remove stems, peel away skin and remove core, seeds and ribs. Cut peppers into 1/2 -inch-wide strips. Set aside.

Sauté corn:

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add corn kernels and sauté until tender, 3-5 minutes. Set aside.

Make masa dough:

In a mixing bowl, combine masa flour and salt. Add melted lard and 3 cups warm water. Knead with your hands until a smooth dough forms. Add more water as needed. Dough should reach consistency of mashed potatoes.

Assemble tamales:

Using tongs, hold one banana leaf rectangle directly over a stove burner set to high until the leaf turns bright green, about 10 seconds per side. (Don't heat leaf longer or it will become brittle.) Place leaf, smooth side up, on work surface. Place a generous 1/3 cup dough in center of each leaf and flatten to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Place 2 sticks of cheese in center of dough, then add 2 chili strips and 2 tablespoons corn. Repeat with remaining banana leaves.

Fold tamales:

Fold long sides of leaf to enclose filling in dough. (Sides of leaf will overlap to make a snug package.) Then fold ends over on seam side and rest tamale on top of folded ends so that its weight holds the package together.

Cook tamales:

Set a steamer basket in a large, lidded pot and fill bottom of pot with just enough water to come nearly to bottom of steamer without touching it. Line bottom of basket with leftover banana leaves. Arrange tamales in basket in layers, then cover with remaining banana leaves. Cover pot, bring water to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 50 minutes. Remove from heat and let tamales rest 5 minutes.

To serve, set tamale packets on plates, unwrap and drizzle with crema.

Note: You can find the banana leaves used to wrap these tamales at Asian or Latin American markets.

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