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Puerto Rican Tamales

Puerto Rican Tamales
45 min
1 hr 50 min
12 tamales
  • These Puerto Rican Tamales take a little time but are well worth the effort. The filling is a delicious combination of pork, chiles, garbanzo beans, olives and raisins. Instead of masa made out of corn flour, this version uses a mixture of yautia, green bananas and plaintain. Yautia, also called malanga, is in the same family as taro root and can be found in Latin American markets.
Key Ingredients


  • 1/4 cup achiote paste
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless pork shoulder, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons MAGGI Granulated Chicken Flavor Bouillon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 5 ajies, seeded and chopped or 1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 cup canned garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup sliced green olives with pimiento
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 pound yautia (or yucca or taro root), peeled and cut
  • 1 pound unripe green bananas, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 unripe green plantain, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
  • 12 plantain leaves, cut into 12 x 10-inch rectangles

Make It

Step 1
Combine achiote paste and oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat; set aside. Let mixture rest for 10 minutes. Oil will turn red in color.
Step 2
Combine pork, orange juice, garlic, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon bouillon and pepper in a large, resealable freezer bag. Shake bag and press with fingers to distribute seasoning in meat. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Step 3
Remove pork from marinade; reserve marinade. Dry pork meat with paper towel.
Step 4
Heat 2 tablespoons achiote oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add pork; cook for 4 minutes. Add onion, bell pepper, ajies (or red bell pepper) and cilantro. Continue to cook for 6 minutes.
Step 5
Stir in reserved marinade; cover. Cook for 45 to 50 minutes or until pork is cooked through. Uncover; stir in garbanzo beans, olives, raisins and capers.
Step 6
Place yautia, green bananas and plantain in food processor; pulse until smooth. Add evaporated milk; pulse to form a puree texture.
Step 7
Transfer masa into a large mixing bowl; add remaining teaspoon bouillon and 3 tablespoons achiote oil. Stir to combine.
Step 8
Drain and discard any excess cooking liquid from pork mixture (approximately ¼ cup).
Step 9
Wipe plantain leaves clean with a moist paper towel.
Step 10
Brush each leaf on one side with achiote oil. Spread ¼ cup masa on leaf and spread to 4 x 3-inch oval. Top with 2 1/2 tablespoons pork filling.
Step 11
Place plantain leaf over a 12-inch-square of parchment paper.
Step 12
Fold bottom of leaf, then top edge, then fold sides, forming a packet. Repeat with parchment paper. Tie with kitchen string. Repeat, making packets with remaining ingredients.
Step 13
Add water to bottom of a tamal steamer. Water should barely be below the rack. Boil water over medium heat.
Step 14
Arrange tamales flat in steamer; cover with damp kitchen towel. Cover with lid; cook over medium heat for 50 to 60 minutes or until masa pulls away from the leaf.

Recipe Notes

Replace pork meat with chicken meat for a variation of this recipe. Remove meat for a vegetarian version.

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