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January 02, 2023 5 min read

The tamales are a well-known dish, perhaps you have seen then as a Mexican dish.

The truth is that this delicious food is not only prepared in Mexico, as it has been cooked in all Latin-American countries with different preparations and flavors.

We all have been there, with an upcoming dinner and no ideas for meals, but don’t worry.

This Peruvian Tamales recipe isperfect for a meal with all the family and friends, a great way to impress them with the offering not only of a delicious meal, but a dish of another culture that will surely bring a lot to talk about in the meeting.

The Peruvian tamales are usually accompaniment by a sauce, which is why we include our recommendation.

The preparation of a mild spicy sauce of ají Amarillo perfect for the tamales. So hurry up and let’s get started with these Peruvian Tamales:

Ingredients (12 portions)

  • 35 oz. of fresh corn grains
  • 2 cups of cilantro leaves orcilantro paste
  • 1 ½ cup of vegetable oil
  • ½ cup of chopped onion (Into small cubes)
  • ½ cup ofají Amarillo paste
  • 3 Tablespoons of sugar
  • Fresh corn leafs (Approximately 40)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the special sauce

Preparation of the tamales

  1. Blend the corn grains with the culantro, add just a little bit of water to facilitate the blending process, the mixture must end up as thick as possible. Keep it in a bowl.
  2. Wash the corn leafs, drain them and let them try while keeping with the dough preparation.
  3. On a deep pan, warm up ½ cup of oil and sauté the onion until it looks transparent, then add the garlic paste and the ají Amarillo paste and sauté for a couple of minutes more.
  4. Add the blended corn to the pan mixture, the sugar and salt and pepper to taste, and then stir well the preparation.
  5. Cook the mixture stirring it constantly and adding the remaining oil cup slowly to the mixture.
  6. Mix well until the dough is homogeneous and soft. It will be ready when the dough does not stick to the pan walls, which takes approximately 20 minutes.
  7. Take the preparation off the heat and let it rest for a couple of minutes.   
  8. Warm up a big pot full of water, until it boils, while you prepare your tamales.
  9. For wrapping up the tamales: you need to place two corn leafs crossed at the middle, then in the center of this union, add a big tablespoon of the dough and then close the leafs grabbing them together and tying them with a candlewick or a thread.
  10. Make sure there are no leaks, since it will come out when you cook them.  Repeat this for each tamal.
  11. When the water on the pot starts boiling, add the tamales you made and cover the water fist with corn leafs and then with the pot cover.
  12. Cook for 30 minutes and then turn off the heat and take the tamales out of the pot and let them rest for a couple of minutes before eating.

Preparation of the special sauce

  1. Wash the red onion on cold water to mitigate the itching taste, then dry it and add it to a bowl with the ají paste, the culantro and the lemon. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to the taste. Let it rest 5 minutes before serving.

Do you want another sauce recipe? Check this  Rocoto sauce!

For serving:

The best way to eat these Peruvian tamales is to peel them from the corn leafs, then place then on a plate with a big portion of special sauce, and of course place a bowl of sauce on the table in case someone wants more!  

Types Tamal is Peruvian

There are many variations of Tamales in Peru. In addition, there are various quantities of Tamales, which vary according to the location, the ingredients, and even the cooking method. These main features make it a distinct and distinctive dish within its Inca-origin cuisine.

Certain kinds of Peruvian Tamales, according to their unique characteristics, are described in this way:

  • Region:

The region we are in will determine where we are situated within Peru; Tamales are classified as:

  • From the Central to the Southern Coast: They are created using Pork, beef, or chicken. Some people add boiled eggs and olives. Others add roasted peanuts, olives, or roast eggs.
    • From the north coast of Mexico: In this region, they are cooked using coriander which makes them acquire a specific green hue. They are known as green Tamales.
    • From the Sierra: They are designed exclusively in the fashion of Pachamanca Peruvian.


  • By ingredients:

Tamales differ based on the ingredients used in Peru's departments, areas, and communities. To list some ingredients, you must consider the location where the tamale originated. So some of the common ingredients include:

  • Tamales made from yellow corn Wrapped with banana leaves.
    • Tamales made of white corn motes or dried corn.
    • Tamales made with sweet corn, or Choclo: green corn in the milky state.
    • Sweet tamales flavored with brown sugar, or chancaca, referred to him as "humitas."
    • Tamale piuran greens with ground coriander in the dough give it a distinct taste.
    • Humitas de yuca tamales, called chapanas.
  • In terms of shape and size:

In this classification, the Tamales are classified following their size and shapes following the region in which they are located.

For instance, In the South Zone: Mala, Chincha, Pisco, and Ica They make in enormous dimensions, and each Tamal weighs over two (2) kilograms. Also, the method of cooking differs in the following ways:

  • El Shatu They boil it in a pot, putting at the bottom the sweet canes that have been crushed (Urwas) of maize that have been specially chosen to be called (Wiru).
    • The dish is called La Qanq'a. It is on an iron plate cooking pan, comal, frying pan or a special clay dish called Q'analla. It can be and then cooked on the grill.


  • By fillings

The Tamales of Peru do not contain fillers, However, depending on the location, it's possible to find specific components inside, for example:

  • Stewed chicken or pork Sometimes with game
    • Beef
    • smoked serrano ham
    • Hard-boiled egg
    • Olives
    • Peanuts, peanuts, raisins, as well, and pork rinds.
  • Per wrapper

Within the Norte Chico zone, as Ancash (a place close to Lima), A different kind of Tamal is available. It varies according to the wrapping method using corn husks; in other words, Tamal is wrapped flat. Therefore, Tamal wraps flat, and it is a different taste known as Shatu.

Another type of Unwrapped Tamales, known as Tojtochi, is prevalent within Puno, which is located in the Sierra del Sur of the country, with the most prominent being in Puno.

The white tamals originate from Cusco, and the northern green and the yellow are created using fine corn flour ground in the stone mill. Tamales can be stuffed or not, wrapped with the leafy green of cob and steam.

Tamals are small in size. Tamal is tiny in size. They are perfect to be served at parties as appetizers and sandwiches (snacks) they are sweet or savory, hot or mild.