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Salted fresh corn tamales with salsa criolla (Humitas con salsa criolla)

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for salted fresh corn tamales with salsa criolla (Humitas con salsa criolla).

By Lisa Featherby
  • Serves 10
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 40 mins cooking plus soaking
Salted fresh corn tamales with salsa criolla (Humitas con salsa criolla)
Salted fresh corn tamales with salsa criolla (Humitas con salsa criolla)

Corn is a huge part of Peruvian cuisine, including the unusual purple variety we don't see in Australia. Used in tortillas, desserts and drinks, its colour adds a dramatic effect to many dishes. For tamales made with fresh corn, unlike those made with dried corn in Mexico, the corn used has large starchy kernels. Our sweetcorn here is less starchy, so we've added a little tamale masa harina, a corn flour mix, to help with the consistency. Fans of creamed corn, as we are, will love the flavour.


  • 4 corn cobs, with husks
  • 1 tbsp lard
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 60 gm tamale masa harina (see note)
Salsa criolla
  • 1 small Spanish onion, thinly sliced on a mandolin
  • 1 tbsp coarsely chopped coriander
  • 2 long red chillies, seeds removed, cut into julienne
  • of 1 lime, Juice


  • 1
    Remove husks and silk from corn (discard silk) and soak husks in cold water (1 hour). Cut kernels from corn and set aside in a bowl.
  • 2
    Heat lard in a frying pan over medium-high heat, add onion and stir occasionally until tender (3-6 minutes). Add garlic and cook until tender (1-2 minutes), add 1½ tsp sea salt, stir to combine, then set aside.
  • 3
    Process corn kernels to a fine paste in a blender with tamale masa harina and 3 tsp sea salt, then combine with onion mixture.
  • 4
    Overlap 2 corn husks, thin end to broad end, so you have a large even piece. Place 2 heaped tablespoonfuls of corn mixture along the centre, then roll husks over to enclose, fold ends over and secure with kitchen string. Repeat with remaining husks and corn mixture, then place in a single layer in a large steamer basket.
  • 5
    Steam tamales over a large saucepan of boiling water until cooked (30-40 minutes).
  • 6
    Meanwhile, for salsa criolla, soak onion in iced water until crisp (5 minutes). Drain well, then place in a bowl with remaining ingredients, toss to combine and serve with warm or cooled tamales.


Note Tamale masa harina is available from Tierra Latinas en Australia.
Drink Suggestion: Rich, full-bodied chardonnay. Drink suggestion by Max Allen