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tamales colombianos

Tamales Colombianos

Tamales Colombianos are a traditional dish that embodies the rich culinary heritage of Colombia.

These flavorful parcels are a true reflection of Colombian culture, showcasing a blend of indigenous, African, and Spanish influences. Packed with tantalizing flavors, Tamales Colombianos are an integral part of festivities and gatherings, bringing people together to savor their unique taste.

Key Takeaways

Who This Meal Appeals To

Tamales Colombianos cater to those seeking a rich and diverse gastronomic experience. Ideal for family gatherings, celebrations, or anyone curious about exploring Colombian cuisine.

Estimated Duration

Preparation: Approximately 1.5 – 2 hours
Cooking Time: Around 2 – 3 hours
Total: 3.5 – 5 hours

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories: Approximately 250-300 per serving
  • Rich in protein, fiber, and essential nutrients
  • Contains a moderate amount of carbohydrates and healthy fats

About This Recipe

Tamales Colombianos are corn dough parcels stuffed with a flavorful mixture, wrapped in banana leaves, and steamed to perfection. The dish involves several steps, each contributing to its authentic taste and texture.

Equipment Required

  • Large pot for steaming
  • Mixing bowls
  • Steamer basket
  • Banana leaves or parchment paper
  • String or twine for tying


  • Corn Dough:
  • 4 cups cornmeal
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • Salt to taste
  • Filling:
  • 2 pounds pork, chicken, or beef, diced
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup olives, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil for sautéing


Corn Dough Preparation

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, broth, melted butter, and salt. Mix thoroughly until a smooth dough forms.

Filling Preparation

  1. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onions and garlic until translucent.
  2. Add diced meat and cook until browned.
  3. Stir in tomatoes, bell pepper, peas, raisins, olives, cilantro, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Cook until the mixture is well combined and flavorful.

Assembling the Tamales

  1. Soak banana leaves in warm water to soften.
  2. Place a banana leaf on a flat surface and spread a thin layer of corn dough.
  3. Spoon the meat mixture onto the dough.
  4. Carefully fold the banana leaf to enclose the filling, creating a rectangular parcel. Securely tie with string or twine.


  1. Arrange the tamales in a steamer basket.
  2. Steam over medium heat for 2-3 hours until the dough is cooked and firm.

Side Dishes

Tamales Colombianos are traditionally served with Colombian hot chocolate or coffee, providing a delightful balance to the rich flavors.

Storage Options

Store leftover tamales in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. They can also be frozen for longer shelf life, ensuring you can relish these delightful treats at a later time.

Ingredient Substitutes

  • Cornmeal: Can be substituted with masa harina or finely ground cornflour.
  • Meat: Customize with your choice of protein or opt for a vegetarian version using plant-based alternatives.

Alternatives to This Meal

If seeking a variation, explore other Latin American tamales like Mexican Tamales or Salvadoran Tamales, each with its unique blend of flavors and ingredients.


Tamales Colombianos are not just a dish; they’re a representation of Colombia’s vibrant culinary heritage. Embrace the flavors, share these delightful parcels with loved ones, and savor the essence of Colombian cuisine encapsulated within each bite. Enjoy the journey of creating this traditional masterpiece!