Tag: tamales

Pork Tamales with Big Wave Green Tomato Salsa

Local Pork Tamale Recipe with Big Wave Green Tomato Salsa

Photography, Styling, and Recipe by Adriana Torres Chong
Shot on location at Cookspace Hawai‘i

Gather friends and family for “tamalada,” a tamale-making party, and prepare for a hands-on day in the kitchen. This great tamale recipe makes about 16 tamales; multiply as needed.


Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: pork, salsa, tamale
Servings: 16 People
Author: Adriana Torres Chong


  • Saucepan
  • Blender
  • Pressure Cooker
  • Bowl
  • Pot
  • Steamer Rack


Green Salsa

  • 1 lb. Big Wave Green Tomatoes (~2 Large Tomatoes)
  • 1/4 Maui Onion
  • 1-2 Serrano Chilies (To Taste)
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 3 Cilantro Sprigs
  • Hawaiian Salt and Black Pepper (To Taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. Sugar

Pork Filling

  • 2 lbs. Local Pork Shoulder
  • 1/2 Maui Onion
  • 1/2 tsp. Hawaiian Salt
  • 1 tsp. Mexican Oregano


  • 4 Cups Masa Mix
  • 5 Cups Reserved Pork Broth (More If Needed)
  • 4 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • 2/3 Cup Lard
  • 2/3 Cup Vegetable Shortening
  • 16-20 Corn Husks (Soaked In Warm Water For 30 Minutes)


Assemble ingredients and soak corn husks in warm water for 30 minutes.

  • Tamale Recipe - Assemble all Ingredients

Prepare salsa verde.

  • Add the tomatoes, onion, serrano chilies, garlic, and cilantro to a saucepan and add enough water to cover (2-3 cups). Cook over medium heat, covered, until tomatoes soften, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, cool, puree. Season with salt, pepper, and sugar.
    Tamales Recipe - Prepare Salsa Verde

Prepare pork.

  • Add pork shoulder, onion, Hawaiian salt, and Mexican oregano in a pressure cooker, cover with water and cook for 30 minutes or until tender. Remove pork and shred; reserve broth for masa.

Prepare Masa.

  • Combine masa mix, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add the pork broth, working with hands to form a soft dough. In a separate bowl, whisk lard and shortening until fluffy. Incorporate masa into the lard mix, whisk until dough has a spongy texture. Can be done by hand or using a mixer. Test by dropping a small ball of masa into a glass of water; if it floats, it’s ready.

Assemble tamales.

  • Spread 3 Tbs.of dough evenly over soaked corn husks. Fill the center with 1 Tbs. of cooked pork and ½ Tbs. of salsa verde. Fold the sides of the husks in toward the center, tying the ends if needed.


  • Line a steamer rack with a double layer of corn husks and place tamales vertically within it. Drape with a towel, then cover with lid. Steam for 50-60 minutes or until the dough peels easily from the husk. Tip: Add an inch of water to the pot and place a washed penny in the middle. The penny will rattle as the dish simmers; when rattling slows, it’s time to add more boiling water to the pot.


  • Serve warm with salsa verde. Tamales freeze well, so make quantities ahead. Buen Provecho!


O‘ahu chef Adriana Torres Chong, originally from Mexico, adapted her traditional recipe to create an authentic pork tamale using local ingredients. As is often the case, there are as many tamale recipes as there are cooks to make them: sweet, savory, vegetarian, etc. If tamale-making is new to you, here is a step-by-step guide to a new tradition you can bring to your own home.