Nacatamales (Banana Leaf Wrapped Central American Tamales)
1620 mins (prep 1440, cooking 180)
24 ingredients
25 servings
These tamales are very different from the regular mexican tamales. The masa is different as is the filling and the wrapping. Nacatamales are usually only made for special occasions or christmas as they are very time consuming and labor intensive but the end product is well worth it. Learning how to make these is a huge milestone in my culture. They can be made vegeterian if you subsitute the chicken broth for veggie broth, the lard for veggie shortening, omit the meat and add sliced zucchini/spinach/sauted poblano peppers with onions or anything else you wish. The masa is the most difficult part. It requires alot of water/broth and constant mixing so that is does not burn (almost like making a roux). It might take a couple of tries before you can get the consitency of the masa right. Too much lard, the masa is too greasy. Too much water it becomes very sticky (like cookie dough). Too little water, the masa will be very dry. Once you can make the masa right, you can make these with your eyes closed.

Categories:  holiday , north-american , mexican , >-1-day , number-of-servings , central-american , time-to-make , for-large-groups ,
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  • 6 cups masa harina for tamales (preffer maseca)
  • 2 cups shortening
  • 1 tablespoon salt (and extra for seasoning)
  • pepper (to season)
  • 2 -3 tablespoons powder chicken bouillon (preffer knorr)
  • 3/4 cup sour orange juice (1/2 for masa and 1/4 for meat, preffer goya marinade)
  • 8 -10 cups broth, unsalted
  • 3 lbs pork butt, cubed into stew meat sizes
  • paprika (to season)
  • cumin (to season)
  • 1 -2 tablespoon chipotle salsa
  • 3/4 cup long-grain white rice, soaked in 1/2 cup warm water for 30 minutes, do not drain water
  • 3 large white potatoes, peeled, sliced into 1/4-inch small cubes (the size of a marble)
  • 1 cup olive (or about 25 of them)
  • 1 (16 ounce) garbanzo beans
  • 1/2 cup whole cilantro leaf
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 12 pieces banana leaves, washed, hard spine removed and cut into 10x10-inch rectangles
  • 12 pieces aluminum foil, cut into 10x10-inch rectangles


Serving Size (154.03 g)
Servings 25
Amount per Serving
Calories 353.39 Calories from Fat 199.71
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 22.19g 853.58%
Saturated Fat 5.18g 647.15%
Trans Fat 2.49g %
Cholesterol 0.0mg 0.0%
Sodium 553.63mg 576.69%
Total Carbohydrate 32.72g 272.67%
Dietary Fiber 5.14 g 514.47%
Sugars 2.45 g %
Protein 7.69g 384.71%
Vitamin A 49.39IU% Vitamin C 0.87mg%
Calcium 88.91mg% Iron 3.67mg%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your diet value must be higher or lower depending upon your calorie needs:
  Calories 2,000 2,500
Total Fat Less Than 65g 80g
Sat Fat Less Than 20g 25g
Cholesterol Less Than 300mg 300mg
Sodium Less Than 2,400mg 2,400mg
Total Carb   300g 375g
Dietary Fiber   25g 30g
Potassium   3,500 mg
Protein   50 g
Calories Per Gram
Fat 9•Carbohydrate 4•Protein 4
*Nutrition information was calculated excluding the following ingredients:
chicken bouillon, sour orange juice, pork butt, chipotle salsa, long-grain white rice, white potatoes, cooking oil, banana leaves, aluminum foil


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