Traditional Holiday Recipes | Mexican Chicken-Pasilla Tamales Recipe

My mother grew up in a small village in Mexico D.F., the capital of Mexico, where cooking was a tradition and a career for her and her family.

Red Chili Chicken Tamales | Tamales de Pollo Con Salsa Roja


I remember my mom making tamales as a small child in Mexicali.  My mother, grandmother and tias would spend the entire day preparing the food, singing and talking about the weeks events,gossiping, sharing advise and celebrating family.  Today this tradition has been passed on to my siblings and I to continue the legacy.

Tamales are a time consuming recipe.  However, the bonds that have been built over the counters and table preparing this delicious recipe will last a lifetime.

Mexican Chicken-Pasilla Tamales Recipe



  • 2 whole chickens boiled and shredded
  • 8 lbs prepared masa
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 to 3 packages corn husks soaked in hot water for 1 hour or overnight
  • 2 1/2 lbs tomatillos
  • 2 1/2 lbs  fresh pasilla chilles
  • 3 to 6 jalapeños
  • 8 large garlic cloves roasted
  • 1 large onion cut into small chunks
  • 4 to 5 teaspoons sea salt, divided

1. Place tomatillos, pasilla chiles and jalapeños on a foiled-lined baking sheet or broiler pan. Set under broiler, turning once until dark on both sides.
2. Transfer pasilla chiles to a zip-close plastic bag and seal closed. Let chiles steam in bag for 15 to 20 minutes. Skin and seed pasillas, cut into thick strips and set aside.
3. Place tomatillos, jalapeños, garlic, onion, and 2 teaspoons of the sea salt in a blender. Pulse 8 to 10 times to combine. If sauce is too thick, add one teaspoon of water as needed. Add more salt, if necessary to taste.
4. Measure and set aside 1 1/2 cups of tomatillo sauce. Place remaining sauce in a large mixing bowl. Add chicken and pasilla chiles and mix well.
5. Combine masa, remaining 2 to 3 teaspons sea salt, baking powder, and reserved tomatillo sauce in another bowl. Stir until completely blended.
6. To assemble tamales: Drain cornhusks, remove and red corn silk, and stack. Lay 1 cornhusk flat, smooth side up. Place about 3 tablespoons of masa mixture on the bottom half of the cornhusk and smooth with the back of a large soup spoon. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of tomatillo-chicken filling in the middle.
7. Locate the long side with a 2 inch space with no masa. Fold that over, slightly overlapping the other side so the edges of the dough meet. Wrap the extra husk around the back. Then fold the broad end over the top and then the longer narrow end over the broad end.
8. Create strips of husk by cutting or tearing 1/4 inch lengths off of some of the smaller or unusable husks. Use these to tie across the middle of the tamales to hold the flaps down.
9. Set tamales upright in a steamer. You can buy large steamers made just for this purpose. You may have something else you can use to create the same effect. The key is to have a small amount of boiling water on the bottom of the pot and a colander or mesh of some sort to keep the tamales away from the water.

Let Simmer for about 90-120 minutes.

Serve warm & with love.

Buen Provecho!

Eva Smith

Publisher at Tech Life Magazine
Eva is an award winning entrepreneur and Publisher of Tech Life Magazine. She has been recognized by Ford Motor Company as a Mujer Legendaria Inteligente (Smart Entrepreneur), USA Today Magazine as a Top Blogger to Watch and Latina Magazine as a Top 25 Latinas Who Shine in Technology. Her work has also been featured on Mashable,, Babble, Baby Center,, USA Today, Latina Magazine, Huffington Post, National Parks Services, Voxxi, NBC Latino, Rolling Stone Magazine & more.She is technologist, engineer, bilingual freelance writer, speaker and digital media consultant.

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