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Tamales Pisques

Tamales Pisques

Tamales Pisques

Recipe for Tamales Pisques.

Tamales pisques are quick and easy tamale that pack a hearty flavor punch and fill you up quick!  Their name "pisque" indicates that they are tamales made with a bean filling.  Tamales pisques are generally a little drier and saltier than traditional Salvadoran chicken tamales.  The drier masa is simply achieved by using less water in the masa, the quantity of seasoning remains the same as for other tamales.  

Tamales Pisques
For the bean center, you can make your own refried beans or use them out of the can. Unlike in pupusas revueltas, I find that for tamales, the taste difference between home-made verses canned beans is minimal, and you save a lot of time by using the canned version. I liked to use red refried beans as opposed to black. 

The process used to make tamales pisques is the same as the process used to make tamales salvadorenos.  If you have not read that post yet, I recommend reading it because it gives extra details that are helpful for those of you who are "tamale-virgins".   

This recipe makes about 25-30 tamales.  Let's get started!


  • 1 can (8 oz) of refried red beans
  • 2 cups of masa harina
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup of corn oil 
  • 2 Maggi chicken flavor cubes "caldo a pollo".  See my post on chicken tamales to see a picture of this seasoning
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube, by "Herb ox".  See my post on chicken tamales to see a picture of this seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp. of cumin
  • Platano Leaves, soaked in water to make soft
  • Aluminum Foil
Getting Ready:
  • Soak frozen platano leaves in warm water to soften
  • When leaves are soft, cut them into medium size squares (see pictures at bottom to get an idea of the size)
  • Cut about 30 squares
  • Rip off about 30 medium size sheets of foil (see pictures at bottom to get an idea of the size)
To Make the Masa:
  • Pour 4 cups of water and 2 cups of masa into a large cast-iron pan.  
  • Using your hands, mix the masa together with the water and use your hands to get out all clumps in the masa.
  • Turn a burner on high and our the other 2 cups of water into a new saucepan and add the 2 Maggi seasoning cubes and 1 chicken bullion cube. 
  • Place the saucepan with the seasoning on the burner and bring to boil until the seasoning cubes have dissolved.
  • Pour the hot seasoning water into the cast-iron pan with the rest of the water and masa, stirring quickly.
  • Add the 1/2 cup of oil and cumin and continue to stir.
  • Turn the burner to medium-low and stir the masa mix continuously until masa becomes thick. 
  • Turn off heat and remove cast-iron pot with masa from the burner. 
  • Leave masa in pan so it can continue to cook. 
To Form the Tamales:
  • Put 4 big spoonfuls of masa in the center of a green plantain leaf.
  • Put 1-2 spoonfuls of refried beans in center the masa.
  • Roll the platano leaf over the masa (see pictures at bottom).
  • Roll the foil over the plantain leaf (see pictures at bottom).
  • Repeat this process until you have used up all the masa.
  • Place foiled tamales in a tamale steamer and steam for 30 minutes.  See link for a good tamale steamer for cheap:  Granite Ware 6257-1 Tamale Pot with Steamer Insert, 15.5-Quart
  • After 30 minutes, turn off stove but leave tamales in steamer so they can steam another 30 minutes.
  • Finally, remove foiled tamales from pan and place in fridge.
  • Serve tamales with crema.
Here are a few pictures of the tamal pisque making process:



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