Photo: Lee Harrelson; Styling: Jan Gautro Photo by: Photo: Lee Harrelson; Styling: Jan Gautro

Shrimp and Cilantro Pesto Tamales

The shrimp cook as the tamales steam, so they're tender and perfectly done.

Cooking Light DECEMBER 2008

  • Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 2 tamales)


  • 24 dried corn husks
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (about 2 ears), thawed
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped
  • 4 1/2 cups Basic Masa Dough
  • 2 cups hot water
  • Lime wedges (optional)


1. Place corn husks in a large bowl; cover with water. Weight husks down with a can; soak 30 minutes. Drain husks.

2. Preheat oven to 450°.

3. Combine cilantro and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a food processor; process until finely chopped. Combine cilantro mixture, corn, and shrimp, tossing well to coat.

4. Working with one husk at a time, place about 3 tablespoons Basic Masa Dough in the center of husk about 1/2 inch from top of husk; press dough into a 4-inch-long by 3-inch-wide rectangle. Spoon about 1 heaping tablespoon shrimp mixture down one side of dough. Using the corn husk as your guide, fold husk over tamale, being sure to cover filling with dough; fold over 1 more time. Fold bottom end of husk under. Place tamale, seam side down, on the rack of a broiler pan lined with a damp towel. Repeat procedure with remaining husks, Basic Masa Dough, and filling. Cover filled tamales with another damp towel. Pour 2 cups hot water in the bottom of a broiler pan; top with prepared rack.

5. Steam the tamales at 450° for 55 minutes, adding water as necessary to maintain a depth of about 1/2 inch. Let tamales stand 10 minutes. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 263
  • Calories from fat: 27%
  • Fat: 8g
  • Saturated fat: 2.2g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 3.2g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 2g
  • Protein: 12.6g
  • Carbohydrate: 36.9g
  • Fiber: 4.7g
  • Cholesterol: 61mg
  • Iron: 2.6mg
  • Sodium: 574mg
  • Calcium: 128mg

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Shrimp and Cilantro Pesto Tamales Recipe