These scrumptious Easy Venezuelan Pepper Tamales are the perfect side dish for any summer supper, party, or barbecue!
Mmmmhhhhh … hallaquitas (tamales)!
Seriously, every bite was a delight. I don’t know whether it was because it had been so long since I had one, or what, but I don’t think these hallaquilas needed anything else. Maybe the wrapping would not have been approved by a “pro”, but the taste and texture could not have been better.
In Venezuela, hallaquitas are very popular. They are made with cornflour, combined with anise seeds, chicharron (fried pork skin), or the ones I made today that are known as seasoned hallaquitas. They are usually eaten as a side dish with grilled beef or roasted chicken.
I remember there was a food truck, near my home in Venezuela, that sold grilled meat with hallaquitas, and right next to it, there was another food truck selling tostadas and hot dogs. My husband, at that time my boyfriend, and I loved to eat there. It was also very cheap.
This is a recipe I have wanted to make for quite some time. This was my first attempt, so I checked with several people before I made them. I checked in my Venezuelan recipe cookbook, and of course, I had my mom’s number on speed dial in case any problem arose. Thank goodness nothing happened. The whole process was very easy. I started at around 10 am, and they were ready for lunch, at 1 pm.
I also prepared a cilantro mojo sauce, and it was insanely good!
These Hallaquitas are ideal for the summertime, in which we eat a lot of grilled meats. They are the perfect side dish, and now that I know how easy they are to make, they will be on my menu more often.
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Easy Venezuelan Pepper Tamales
- 20 dried corn husks, soaked for at least 30 minutes
- 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, washed, seeded and coarsely chopped (about one bell pepper )
- 6 small red sweet peppers, washed, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 cups Harina Pan
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste
Prepare The Corn Husks:
- Soak the corn husks in a bowl of very hot water for 30 minutes or until softened.
- After soaking, rinse and clean thoroughly. Then, drain well and pat dry. Set aside.
Prepare the Dough:
- Melt the shortening in the microwave. Set aside.
- Place in a blender, the chicken broth, red peppers, sweet pepper, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Blend on medium speed until vegetables are dissolved in the broth.
- Transfer the broth to a large bowl and gradually add the Harina PAN. Stir constantly, with your hands or a wooden spoon, to prevent lumps. Let it stand for 5 minutes. The dough will be thickened.
- Add melted vegetable shortening gradually and continue mixing. The mixture should have a smooth consistency, such as peanut butter, If not, add more broth, 1 -2 tablespoon at the time, as necessary. Taste and adjust salt according to your taste. Note: I usually don’t add more salt since the chicken broth add enough saltiness for our taste.
- Take one corn husk and place about 1/2 cup of dough in the middle of it. Fold the sides covering the dough and making a kind of a roll. Tie the ends tightly, using kitchen string or raffia, just where the dough ends. Repeat the same procedure until you finish all the dough. You will come out with 14-16 hallaquitas.
- Fill 3/4 of a large pot (7-1/4-qt) with water. Add 2 teaspoons of salt, mix to dissolve. Bring to boil over medium heat.
- Place the hallaquitas in the boiling water, cover, and cook over medium-low heat for 50-60 minutes, or until the mixture is no longer sticky. To test if the hallaquitas are done: Remove one and try to pull the husk off. If the husk pulls away cleanly from the hallaquita they're done. If the dough is still sticky or wet looking, cook them for 5-10 minutes longer and try again.
- Remove tamales from the pot and place them upright in a large colander to drain excess water. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
For the Cilantro Mojo Sauce recipe, click here. ★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below! Please note that nutritional information is a rough estimate, and it can vary depending on the products used.