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Tamal Azteca

Any recipe that has the name Azteca in it will most likely have corn kernels and poblano chiles on the ingredient list. Indeed, these two vegetables are a beloved combination for the Mexican palate. Add crema (and often times cheese) to that and it becomes magic.

This dish, if I may say so, is out of this world. If you like tamales, then you're in for a treat. Make or purchase your favorite flavor of tamales and start layering them with sautéed onion, poblano chile, and corn kernels, then add a mixture of your favorite salsa, crema, and grated melting cheese. Once this is baked, it becomes this lovely soft masa that can only be described as the best kind of comfort food.

Growing up in Mexico, family is not only your immediate family, but also your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, godparents, godchildren, close friends, etc. In a family of eight siblings on both my mom andy my dad’s side, you can do the math and calculate the number of people gathered together for baptisms, birthdays, or any other celebrations!  

I remember great parties but as a child I never gave a thought to the organization and execution of the meals in these gatherings. I have to say, my grandmothers and aunts were and are amazing at this type of entertaining. To them, a party of enormous size could be accomplished without batting an eyelash. Their secret: many hands make short work. Everyone works together and it’s done in a flash. The sense of community is never lost in Mexican households and it's a lot of fun.

This dish is perfect for parties because it can be made a day or two ahead of time and it’s ready to pop into the oven when guests arrive. It can be part of a buffet, of course, but if you’re making this at home, you only need a salad on the side and you will have a perfectly satisfying meal. 

Tamal Azteca

  • 24 tamales, peeled of husks
  • 5 large poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, de-veined and sliced into strips
  • 1 large onion, peeled, halved and cut crosswise into thin slices
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups crema
  • 1 1/2 cups green or red salsa  (commercial salsa is fine)
  • 4 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablesoons vegetable oil, divided

Get the full recipe.

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