Rajas and Cheese Tamales


  • 1 bag dried corn husks
  • 1 1/4 cups prepared tamale dough
  • 5 poblano chiles, cooked and julienned to make rajas
  • Vegetable oil for spreading
  • 1/2 lb cheese (jack or cheddar) cut into 1/2 inch thick slices or strips


  1. Soak the cornhusks until soft (about an hour).
  2. To make the rajas: Choose your preferred chiles and, using your hand, coat them with vegetable oil.
  3. Place the chiles over an open flame and allow them to char on both sides.
  4. Once completely charred, place them in a zip-lock bag and seal, allowing them to steam for 45 minutes.
  5. Remove them from the bag and peel away the burned skin and rinse them under running water.
  6. Cut off the stems and remove the veins and seeds, and cut into long strips, count them, and divide them equally. Place the strips in a bowl.
  7. To make the tamales: Remove the cornhusks from water and drain.
  8. Take two tablespoons of masa dough and spread onto the inside of the cornhusk, leaving a 2-inch space from the bottom of the leaf.
  9. Add strips of rajas in the center with a slice of cheese.
  10. Fold one side inward enough to cover the filling. Then roll until both edges meet and form a compact tube. Take the bottom half (where there is no masa) and fold up.
  11. Place the tamales (face-up) in a steamer with water at the bottom, and steam for 1 1/2 hour. At half cooking time, add more water, if needed.
  12. When your tamales are ready, let cool for twenty minutes. The masa should pull away from the husk with no resistance.

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