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Rajas and Cheese Tamales

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  • Prep 40 min
  • Total 4 hr 0 min
  • Servings 10
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by: Nicole Presley
Updated Jul 17, 2017
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  • 1 bag dried corn husks
  • 1 1/4 cups prepared tamale (masa) dough
  • 5 chiles cooked and julienned to make rajas - Anaheim or Poblano
  • Vegetable oil for spreading
  • 1/2 lb cheese (jack or cheddar) cut into 1/2-inch thick slices or strips


  • 1
    Soak the cornhusks until soft (about an hour).
  • 2
    To make the rajas: Choose your preferred chiles and, using your hand, coat them with vegetable oil.
  • 3
    Place the chiles over an open flame and allow them to char on both sides.
  • 4
    Once completely charred, place them in a zip-lock bag and seal, allowing them to steam for 45 minutes.
  • 5
    Remove them from the bag and peel away the burned skin and rinse them under running water.
  • 6
    Cut off the stems and remove the veins and seeds, and cut into long strips, count them, and divide them equally. Place the strips in a bowl.
  • 7
    To make the tamales: Remove the cornhusks from water and drain.
  • 8
    Take two tablespoons of masa dough and spread onto the inside of the cornhusk, leaving a 2-inch space from the bottom of the leaf.
  • 9
    Add strips of rajas in the center with a slice of cheese.
  • 10
    Fold one side inward enough to cover the filling. Then roll until both edges meet and form a compact tube. Take the bottom half (where there is no masa) and fold up.
  • 11
    Place the tamales (face-up) in a steamer with water at the bottom, and steam for 1 1/2 hour. At half cooking time, add more water, if needed.
  • 12
    When your tamales are ready, let cool for twenty minutes. The masa should pull away from the husk with no resistance.

Expert Tips

  • tip 1
    Masa can be bought ready-made at Mexican markets or you can make your own by following the directions on a packet of corn flour.

Nutrition Information

No nutrition information available for this recipe

More About This Recipe

  • Two words: Cheese and Chile. PERIOD. Two of my favorite flavor combinations ever! They really do go hand in hand. If they were people, I imagine they'd be lovers. Ok, seriously speaking, I'm not lying when I say this flavor combo is yummy. These two also happen to be the main ingredients to the tamales I've made every year for the last 10 years: my homemade tamales with rajas (chile strips) and cheese. A lot of people think tamales are a long and laborious dish to make. And maybe they are… but oh are they worth it! When I make them with my aunts and friends, we get a production line going with everyone doing a certain task. My mom and my two aunts are spreaders; my best friends are fillers, and the rest of us are folders. It's works really well! We chat away as we make our tamales. It's a wonderful tradition that makes me feel extremely close to the gals in my life. I recommend you give it a try and get a little girl bonding time over tamales.
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