Tamale Red Curry

    A Mexican and Thai fusion dish that combines tamales stuffed with spicy beef, and a creamy coconut green curry


    • 3/4 Pound Sliced Sirloin
    • 1 Clove Garlic
    • 1 Thumb Ginger
    • 1 Teaspoon Paprika
    • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
    • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire
    • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
    • 5 Cups Water
    • 1.5 Cups Cornmeal
    • 1.5 Cups Masa Harina
    • 1 Teaspoon Cumin
    • 1 Teaspoon Coriander
    • 1 Teaspoon Chile Flake
    • 5 Cloves Garlic
    • 2 Thumbs Ginger
    • 3 Thai Chiles
    • 1 Onion
    • 2 Cans Coconut Milk
    • 1 Head Broccoli
    • 1 Bunch Basil
    • Chicken Stock
    • Rice


    1. Marinade 3/4 of a pound of sliced sirloin in some garlic, ginger, paprika, soy sauce, worcestershire, and brown sugar.
    2. For the tamale dough, bring 5 cups of water to a simmer. Whisk in 1.5 cups of cornmeal. Cook stirring often for about 5 minutes until the consistency is like a very wet oatmeal. Pour over 1.5 cups of masa harina and stir to combine.
    3. Pat out a small pancake of dough in your palm and place a few small pieces of meat in it. Roll it into a ball and seal the meat inside. Continue until you have made all the tamale balls.
    4. Make the curry paste - In a food processor combine a teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, and chile flake. Add about 5 cloves of garlic and the equivalent of that in ginger. Toss in a handful of fresh thai chiles. Add some oil and blend to a paste.
    5. Cook a sliced onion to brown a bit in a frying pan. Add in the curry paste and cook 1 minute. Add in 2 cans of coconut milk and mix to combine. Add a chopped up head of broccoli. Mix in a bunch of fresh basil leaves. Transfer to a large baking dish. Toss in the tamale balls and make sure there is enough liquid to cover them half way. If not, add a little chicken stock. Bake at 350 covered tightly with foil for about an hour and a half, flipping the balls once in the middle of cooking. Remove from oven and serve the dish with rice.


    As with most of my strange food mashups, this one started with not being able to decide if I wanted to eat tamales or Thai for dinner. Why not just make a Thai curry and toss some tamales in there? But not just any tamales, some tasty smaller ones with a pocket full of beef on the inside.

    Marinade for the beef.
    The Thai curry paste.

    I like making tamales that are half masa harina and half cornmeal, but the best way to do this is to start the cornmeal cooking in some water before you even start steaming the tamales.

    Little pockets of meat.

    The red curry goes into some cooking onions, then some broccoli and coconut milk finish it off.

    I loaded this all up into a baking dish so the tamale could cook and steam. A nice sealed foil cover makes the steaming process better.

    I wouldn’t say this was my best crazy mashup, but it was still a fun and tasty dinner.

    The cornbready tamales meshed well with the spicy curry.