Spicy prawn tamales

Discover just how delicious Mexican food can be with Tony Tobin's recipe for flavourful prawn tamales
By Tony Tobin
Spicy prawn tamales
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Effort: medium



  • 450 g tomatillos, husked
  • 1 white onions, peeled
  • 4 clove garlic
  • 2 Anaheim chillies, stems removed
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 pinches black pepper
  • 250 g masa harina, prepared
  • 175 g goats' cheese, at room temperature
  • 900 g large prawns
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 0.5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 0.5 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp olive oil


1. Preheat the oven to 200ÂșC/gas 6.

2. Place the tomatillos, onion, garlic, and green chillies in a roasting pan and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes.

3. Transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor along with any juices that are at the bottom of the pan.

4. Add 2 teaspoons of cumin and season with salt. Pulse the mixture until combined but still chunky. You may add a bit of water or stock if the mixture is too thick.

5. Reserve half the sauce to serve with the tamales.

6. In a deep bowl, combine the masa and remaining tomatillo sauce. Beat until the sauce is fully incorporated and the dough is green. Fold in the softened goat cheese.

7. Lay out cleaned and soaked dried cornhusks on a baking sheet covered by a damp towel.

8. Lay each husk flat on a plate with the smooth side up and the narrow end facing you.

9. Spread a thin, even layer of the masa mixture over the surface of the husk with a tablespoon that is dipped in water.

10. Fold the narrow end up to the centre then fold both sides together to enclose the filling. The sticky masa will form a seal. Pinch the wide top closed, creating a tamale.

11. Stand the tamales up in a large steamer or colander with the pinched end up.

12. Load the steamer into a large pot filled with 2-inches of water. The water should not touch the tamales.

13. Lay a damp cloth over the tamales and cover with lid. Steam the tamales for 2 hours, periodically checking that the water doesn't boil away and topping up as required.

14. Coat the prawns with the remaining cumin, chilli powder, cayenne, coriander, salt, and freshly ground pepper.

15. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan.

16. Add in the prawns and fry for 5 minutes until pink.

17. To serve, unfold the tamales, top with the spicy prawn mixture and spoon the reserved tomatillo sauce over the top.

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