Nacatamales, a Nicaraguan tamales recipe from “Para Chuparse Los Dedos”

A leaf is open. What is inside? It looks like many ingredients that go inside a Nicaraguan tamale!
Nacatamales, a Nicaraguan tamale dish. Photo courtesy of “Para Chuparse Los Dedos."

Read the article by Marabet Morales about the new Central American-focused cookbook and oral history project.

A leaf is open. What is inside? It looks like many ingredients that go inside a Nicaraguan tamale!
Nacatamales, a Nicaraguan tamale dish. Photo courtesy of “Para Chuparse Los Dedos.”


Makes 30 tamales 


6 pounds of prepared dough for tamales (found in Latin grocery stores) 

4 pounds of pork meat 

3 cloves garlic 

1 can tomato sauce 

5 tomatoes 

2 onions 

1 green pepper 

1 cup cooking oil 

1 bunch cilantro or mint 

4 potatoes, sliced 

2 cups long grain white rice 

1 package plantain leaves 

Aluminum foil 

Cut meat in small squares and boil with salt and 2 garlic cloves until soft. Add tomato sauce. Blend 1 tomato, ½ onion, 1 green pepper and 1 garlic clove. Soften the dough with strained meat stock. Add blended mix. Heat at medium heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon. Add oil gradually as you keep stirring with a wooden spoon. Add salt to taste. Remove from heat and keep moving for 2 minutes, it should be soft. To assemble tamales, put a square of aluminum foil, a square of plantain leaf, ¾ cup of dough, 1 slice of tomato, 1 slice of onion, 1 tablespoon of rice, you can also add raisins. Wrap the nacatamales and tie them up with a string. In a big pot, add some water and steam the tamales. Steam for 2 hours, adding water if necessary. 

Hace 30 nacatamales


6 libras de masa para tamales preparada

4 libras de carne de cerdo 

3 dientes de ajo 

1 lata de salsa de tomate 

5 tomates 

2 cebollas 

1 pimiento verde 

1 taza de aceite 

1 ramo de cilantro o menta 

4 papas en rodajas 

2 tazas de arroz blanco 

1 paquete de hoja de plátano 

Papel de aluminium 

Cortar la carne en cuadrados pequeños y hervir con sal y 2 dientes de ajo hasta que estén blandos. Añadir la salsa de tomate. Mezcla 1 tomate, ½ cebolla, 1 pimiento verde y 1 diente de ajo. Ablandar la masa con el caldo de la carne. Añadir la mezcla. Calentar a fuego medio y revolver constantemente con una cuchara de madera. Agregue aceite gradualmente a medida que sigue revolviendo con una cuchara de madera. Añadir sal al gusto. Retire del fuego y siga moviéndolo durante 2 minutos, debe estar suave. Para armar los tamales, coloque un cuadrado de papel de aluminio, un cuadrado de hoja de plátano, ¾ taza de masa, 1 rebanada de tomate, 1 rebanada de cebolla, 1 cucharada de arroz, también puede agregar pasas. Envuelva los nacatamales y amarrarlos con una cuerda. En una olla grande, agregar un poco de agua y vaporizar los tamales. Cocer al vapor durante 2 horas, agregando agua si es necesario.

Author Profile

Marabet Morales Sikahall is a Guatemalan American writer from Oakland, California. She is an alumna from both Creative Writing programs at San Francisco State University and Berkeley City College, including the Literary Arts program at Oakland School for the Arts. Some of her writing has been featured in The Acentos Review, Acción Latina's Tribute Chapook for Salvadoran writer, Roque Dalton, Harvard College’s Palabritas, and Oakland Voices. Additionally, her radio story in collaboration with local radio station, KALW and Oakland Voices aired on July 2019 for #MinorityMentalHealthAwarenessMonth. She is also the editor and founder of the literary journal, "Diaspora Baby Blues." She can be found on social media @marabet510.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.