• 1/2 pound Oaxacan Black Beans
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon mexican oregano
  • 1-3 arbol chili peppers stems and seeds removed (optional)
  • 1 cinnamon tree leaf
  • 1 4 inch strip of kombu
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt 
  • Oaxaca cheese optional


  • 1 cup Heirloom Corn Masa Harina
  • Corn husks
  • 1 cup water or broth, room temp
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 - 1 cup unsalted butter or vegan butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Make The Filling:

In a dutch oven or pressure cooker saute the onion in olive oil for 2 minutes, add the garlic and saute for 1 more minute until fragrant and starting to soften. Rinse and drain the beans before adding to the pot along with all of the other filling ingredients and enough water to cover by a couple of inches. Cook on high in the pressure cooker for 30 minutes or bring to a boil on the stovetop then cover and reduce to a simmer for 1-2 hours on the stove until the beans are tender.

Strain the beans retaining the bean broth. Remove the peppers, kombu and cinnamon tree leaf and discard.

Add one cup of beans and cup of bean broth to the blender and blend into a thick sauce. Add the thickened broth back to the beans taste and adjust seasoning and set aside. This can be made 1-2 days ahead.

Prepare To Make Tamales:

Pour boiling water over your corn husks in a bowl and set aside to soak.) Prepping tamales with masa harina goes much faster, so it helps to have soaked, pliable husks ready for assembly that aren’t too hot. Have your filling ready (it does not need to be hot) and if you are using Oaxacan cheese pull it into strands.

Make the Masa: 

Using 1 cup Masienda masa harina, use about 1 cupswater, chicken broth or vegetable broth (I love using corn stock). Don’t add all the water or broth at once, instead add 1.5 cups at first and then continually add the rest until you get a nice, uniform not-too-sticky dough. I's okay if the dough is just slightly on the drier side as opposed to too wet, because you're adding additional elements like fat to the mix, later on.  Set aside.

In a stand mixer or in a bowl with a hand mixer, whip the butter until light and fluffy. Add the masa a bit at a time to the whipped butter. You are looking for the texture of hummus. Add the baking powder. Taste again for seasoning. Go a bit heavier on the salt because they tend to lose flavor in the steaming process.


Lay a corn husk in front of you with the thin end away from you so that it makes a little boat. With your spoon spread a spoonful of masa in the center of the corn husk. You want it to almost reach the edge but leave a couple inches at the top and bottom to fold over the corn husk. Spread it thick enough that the filling won't poke through but not so thick that that you won't be able to wrap it. Then put a bit of the filling in the middle (but not to the edges) of the masa. Roll up the sides of the corn husk until the masa meets to enrobe the filling. Wrap the corn husk over the masa to completely cover it and then fold the top and bottom edges to the middle like an envelope and flip it over. Tear long thin strips of corn husk off of one of the husks you've prepared and use them to tie the ends so that they stay closed. 

Steam the tamales in a steamer basket over a pot of water or use a steamer if you have one. Be careful not to let the water reach the tamales but also watch that the water doesn't run dry. A trick for this is to throw a penny in the bottom of the basket. The steam will make it rattle. If stop hearing the rattle it's time to add some water. Steam the tamales for 30 minutes. You will know they are done if the masa no longer sticks to the corn husk.

They can be kept warm at a low steam for over an hour, you can also cook them ahead and reheat them over steam before serving. Tamales freeze wonderfully and can be thawed and steamed or heated up in the microwave wrapped in a damp towel. 

Serve them with hot sauce, additional mole sauce and sour cream and lime drizzle. 

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