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Corn and Quinoa Tamales with Ceviche Stuffing and Chiptole Cream

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Mario Martinez, the Corporate Executive Chef and Director of Bistros & Boulangeries at AJ's Fine Foods shares his recipe for Corn and Quinoa Tamales with Ceviche Stuffing and Chiptole Cream. Chef Martinez says, "The Incas popped Quinoa (the Aztecs used Amaranth) seeds and ground them into flour to make their tamales; this grain was deeply rooted in their culture and religious beliefs."

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup corn meal
  • 1 cup Quinoa flour, or Amaranth flour (available at Health Food Markets)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp. butter, cold
  • 1 cup water, cold
  • 1 cup diced snapper, grouper or mahi-mahi fillets and/or diced raw shrimp & scallops
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh garlic
  • ¼ cup red and yellow bell pepper, small diced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • 8 dried corn husks, soaked in water for 3 hours (aluminum foil can be used, if necessary)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil, for brushing
  • 4 pieces butcher's twine, about 36 inches
  • .
  • FOR THE CHIPOTLE CREAM: (Makes 3 cups)
  • 4 cups heavy cream, brought to a boil in a large, heavy pot and reduced to 3 cups
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. puréed canned Chipotle peppers in adobo (available in Mexican markets or catalogs)
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • Fresh lime juice to taste (optional)

Preparation:

Place the cornmeal, Quinoa flour (or Amaranth flour), baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl and mix together. Add the butter and quickly break up the butter mixing with the tips of the fingers to create a coarse meal. Pour in the cold water, toss together and form into a ball. If mixture is dry, add a little more water until the dough is moist but holds together without sticking. Divide the mixture in fourths and set aside. Mix together all the remaining ingredients (except the last three) in a small bowl and marinate for approximately 30 minutes; then season with salt and divide into fourths.

Arrange two corn husks overlapping at the wide end on a flat work surface; brush with olive oil. Place one portion of the cornmeal mixture in the center of the corn husks, form into a cylinder and spread out into a rectangle. Place one portion of the filling in the center of the cornmeal mixture, shape into a cylinder and wrap with the cornmeal mixture. Roll the filling in the corn husks, fold the ends of the corn husks up to the end of the filling and tie with butcher's twine (about 36 inches will be necessary). Repeat the procedure with the three remaining portions. Bring enough salted water to cover the tamales to a boil in a pot fitted with a lid over high heat. Add the tamales, return to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes. Serves 4.

To make the Chipotle Cream, bring the reduced heavy cream to a boil in a medium sauce pan taking care not to allow "boil-over." Reduce heat, add the remaining ingredients, and simmer for 2 minutes. Strain through a basket-strainer if desired.

Optional: Fresh lime juice to taste can be added to this sauce depending on the level of acidity in the item it is being matched with.

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