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chiapan tamales

Chiapan Tamales: Southern Mexican Tradition

Chiapan Tamales, hailing from the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, are a culinary delight that captures the essence of the region’s rich cultural tapestry.

Filled with local ingredients and flavors, these tamales bring a taste of Chiapan tradition to the table.

Key Takeaways

  • Who this meal appeals to: Perfect for those seeking an authentic taste of Chiapas, appreciating the unique blend of flavors in southern Mexican cuisine.
  • Estimated duration: The preparation demands time and care, offering a delightful culinary experience lasting around 3-4 hours.
  • Nutrition Facts: Chiapan Tamales provide a satisfying mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, influenced by the choice of local fillings.

About this Recipe

Chiapan Tamales are known for their flavorful masa, often enhanced with local spices, and filled with ingredients like meats, vegetables, and chilies. Wrapped in banana leaves, these tamales showcase the diverse and vibrant culinary traditions of Chiapas.

Equipment Required

  1. Large Steaming Pot: Essential for achieving the perfect texture of the masa.
  2. Mixing Bowls: For preparing the masa and fillings.
  3. Banana Leaves: Traditional wrapping material for an authentic Chiapan touch.


  • Masa: 3 cups, a mixture of corn masa seasoned with local spices.
  • Pork or Chicken: 1 lb, cooked and shredded.
  • Chiapan Mole: 1 cup, for a rich and complex flavor.
  • Bell Peppers, Tomatoes, and Onions: 1 cup each, finely chopped for a flavorful filling.
  • Chiapan Chilies (Pasilla or Chipotle): 2-3 pieces, finely chopped for a smoky kick.
  • Banana Leaves: 12-15 pieces, for wrapping.


  1. Prepare the Masa: Mix corn masa with local spices until it forms a smooth, spreadable consistency.
  2. Prepare the Filling: Combine shredded meat with Chiapan mole, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, and Chiapan chilies in a bowl.
  3. Assemble the Tamales: Spread a thin layer of masa on a banana leaf, add a spoonful of the filling, and fold the tamale, securing the ends.
  4. Steam to Perfection: Arrange the tamales in a steaming pot and steam for 1.5 to 2 hours until the masa is cooked.

Side Dishes

Serve with a side of Chiapan black beans and a refreshing salsa for an authentic Chiapan meal.

Storage Options

Store any leftover tamales in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped, for up to three days.

Ingredient Substitutes

Experiment with different local spices or add Chiapan herbs for a unique Chiapan twist.


For a vegetarian option, consider making tamales filled with a medley of Chiapan vegetables and beans.

For futher reading check out this comprehensive article on Regional Tamales. For similar tamales check out: Oaxacan Tamales and Mexican Tamales.


Chiapan Tamales offer a taste of the southern Mexican tradition, providing a flavorful experience that celebrates the unique blend of ingredients and spices that define Chiapan cuisine. Whether shared during festive occasions or enjoyed as a comforting family meal, these tamales are a testament to the rich and vibrant culinary tapestry of Chiapas.