Shrimp and Corn Tamales with Miso Butter

May 19, 2014
1 Ratings
  • Makes 12
Author Notes

The first tamales I ever had were from a Bobby Flay recipe and they were made with fresh corn - delicious! Nearly every tamale recipe I have found since uses instant masa flour, which I personally don't find to be as flavorful as the ones made with fresh corn (perhaps I just haven't found the right recipe).

There are a few small adaptations I have made to Flay's Basic Tamales: using shallots instead of onions to give them a more subtle, if not slightly garlicky note; a bit of cayenne for heat; and instead of using lard or shortening, I used heavy cream. I found adding cream brings out a nice creamy sweetness.

I topped the masa with miso butter, my own recipe of garlicky citrus-soy shrimp, and garnished with cilantro - giving these tamales layers and layers of flavor. —Kathleen | Hapa Nom Nom

What You'll Need
  • Tamales
  • 30 dried corn husks
  • 2 cups corn, fresh (preferred) or frozen
  • 2 large shallots, quartered
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, roughly chopped into pea-size pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons Shiro miso (white miso)
  • Shrimp
  • 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, 41/50 count (medium), peeled and cleaned
  • 1/4 cup orange juice, preferably fresh
  • 1 lime, juiced (2 tablespoons) and zested
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • cilantro for garnish
  1. Fill a large bowl with water and add the husks, weighing them down with a plate. Soak for 2 hours or until softened.
  2. In a food processor, puree the corn, shallots, and chicken stock. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the cream, butter, cornmeal, sugar, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine, breaking up the butter with your hands if needed. The mixture will be loose - but don't worry, it will dry out when steamed.
  3. Remove the husks from the water bath, drain and pat dry. Set aside the best 24 husks (they should be large and free of holes) Tear the remaining husks into 1-inch strips - these will be used to tie the tamales.
  4. Take two husks of similar size and lay them on your work surface with the widest parts overlapping approximately 3 inches. Place 1/3 cup of the masa mixture in the center. Fold the long sides of the husks overtop of the masa so that they are overlapping. Tie each end with a strip of husk and then trim the ends 1/2 an inch past the knot. If some of the masa drips out, don't worry - it will firm up when steamed.
  5. In a steaming pot, arrange the tamales so that they are standing up vertically. Start by placing them around the edge of the pot and then work your way toward the center - you don't want them packed tightly, but it is ok if there is a lot of space remaining in the pot. (If you do not have a steamer pot, checkout Food52, How to Hack a Steamer). Cover tightly with a lid and steam over boiling water for 45 minutes.
  6. While the tamales are cooking, make the Miso Butter. Simply add the miso to the softened butter, stir well to incorporate, and refrigerate until ready to use.
  7. About 20 minutes before the tamales are done, start working on the shrimp. Combine the orange juice, lime juice, lime zest, garlic, soy sauce, and sriracha in a mixing bowl. Add the shrimp and marinate for 15 minutes. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Remove the shrimp from the marinade and add to the pan. Tossing frequently, cook for 2-3 minutes, or until just cooked through.
  8. To serve, open up the husk to expose the masa mixture. Add a pat of miso butter, several shrimp, and top with cilantro. Enjoy!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • heather
  • mrslarkin
  • loubaby
  • sexyLAMBCHOPx
  • Kathleen | Hapa Nom Nom
    Kathleen | Hapa Nom Nom

10 Reviews

Cherjh7 January 7, 2015
I made these last nice and they were fantastic! My husband and teenagers loved them as well! I just need to come up with an appropriate accompaniment and I have a lovely meal.
Kathleen |. January 8, 2015
I'm so glad you and your family enjoyed the tamales! If you're looking for a side, I would recommend something with a bit of tang to complement the rich corn filling of the tamales. Maybe a Warm Goat Cheese Salad: or Fresh Green Beans: . I hope this helps and thank you so much for trying my recipe!
heather May 20, 2014
Very excited to try this! I love tamales. Had them for the first time driving through wine country in Santa Barbara with my boyfriend (now husband). Beautiful afternoon and such a great memory! Will have to make these for him.
Kathleen |. May 21, 2014
Some of my best memories include a special dish as well! I hope you enjoy!
mrslarkin May 19, 2014
These look delicious!
Kathleen |. May 19, 2014
loubaby May 19, 2014
these sound great; I love the butter idea rather than lard also, but I always thought tamales had a filling not just corn masa...I was surprised you put the shrimp over it, but it really sounds good so I am going to try it...Your photo looks great as well.
Kathleen |. May 19, 2014
Hi Loubaby! I too generally see tamales with a filling such as shredded pork. However, I was thinking the masa fulfills that sweet/savory card and perhaps something lighter and more acidic would compliment some of the more heavy components. I was afraid if I cooked the shrimp inside the tamale, that it would overcook the shrimp - so I just added it on top. I'm so glad you found the recipe interesting. If you make it, please let me know how it turns out! :)
sexyLAMBCHOPx May 19, 2014
Nice, I need to try this!
Kathleen |. May 19, 2014
Thanks! If you make them, I hope you enjoy!