Spice Things Up A Notch With This Braised Pork Plantain Tamal


Looking for a fresh new recipe to try out for lunch or dinner this week? Give this pork tamal a try! Infused with delicious spices and juicy pork, all your guests will be asking for another! This recipe makes 12 tamales – the perfect amount for your upcoming gathering or gameday menu!


Yield: 12 tamales


  • 1 cup precooked corn flour
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 2 cups of Braised Pork (see recipe below)
  • 2 tablespoon of Achiote Oil (recipe below)
  • Plantain leaves, 8-inches by 10-inches each. (Frozen banana leaves can be used.)
  • Butcher’s string, for tying
  • 1 cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons of achiote (annatto) seeds
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chile de arbol powder
  • 2 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, fat cap removed, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 6 whole garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup onions, diced small
  • 1/4 cup ají dulce, diced small
  • 1/4 cup Anaheim or California chiles, diced small
  • 1/4 cup poblano chiles, diced small
  • 2 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth

Directions for Achiote Oil:

  1. Warm a saucepan over medium heat and add oil. When oil is hot, add the achiote seeds and turn off the heat. Let pan sit until it cools. Strain the oil for use in tamal recipe.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine corn flour, chicken stock, Braised Pork and Achiote Oil. Mix with hands until ingredients are well combined. Let the masa mixture sit for a few minutes.

Directions for Braised Pork:

  1.  Preheat the oven to 325F degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together chili powder, cumin, chile de arbol powder, thyme and salt. Place pork in bowl and turn to coat evenly with rub.
  2. In an oven-safe, deep skillet with cover, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Add pork to hot skillet and sear until golden brown on all sides.
  3. Add garlic, onions, ají dulce, Anaheim (or California) chiles and poblano chiles, and cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  4. Cover the pan tightly with lid or aluminum foil and place it in the oven to braise for 2 ½ hours, or until pork is fork-tender.
  5. Remove the pork from oven and place in a heat-resistant bowl. Shred pork meat with two forks.

Make the tamales:

  1. Place a plantain leaf on a flat surface. Add approximately 3 tablespoons of the masa mixture, spreading the dough with the belly of the spoon to create a rectangle that’s approximately 5 1/2-inch by 3-inch in size.
  2. Fold the leaf in half, and then fold the fully open edge to secure the filling.
  3. Fold the ends of the leaf toward the center, creating a perfect folded rectangle.
  4. Drape a second plantain leaf, 3-inch by 8-inch, around the tamal to secure it into a rectangle.
  5. Tie each tamal with butcher’s string, to secure.
  6. Place the tamales in a steamer for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove tamales and place on a tray. Allow them to sit for 5 minutes before serving.



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