Pixar's latest laser-guided annihilator of heartstrings, Coco, starts off in the sunny Mexican town of Santa Cecilia, where 12-year-old Miguel's abulea does two things very well: staving off music of any kind, and slinging tamales. These little packets of south-of-the-border love can be tricky and time-consuming, but make for the perfect Oscar party snack next week when we watch Coco inevitably lose the trophy to Boss Baby.



  • Corn husks
  • 6 guajillo chiles
  • 6 pasilla chiles
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tomatillos, quartered
  • Juice of ½ an orange
  • 2 tsp of cumin
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • A pinch of Mexican oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Water
  • Small Pork Shoulder (appetizing pork), cubed
  • 560g of masa harina
  • 700ml hot water
  • 375g of lard
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • Oaxaca cheese


  1. Begin by soaking the corn husks in room temperature water for at least 3 hours.
  2. Bring some water to a boil, and boil your guajillo and pasilla chiles until they are nice and soft.
  3. Once they are cooked, remove the stem and add them to a blender along with 1 ½ cups of the water that the peppers were boiled in, 4 cloves of garlic, 2 quartered tomatillos, juice of ½ an orange, the juice of 1 lime, 2 tsp of cumin, a pinch of Mexican oregano, salt, and pepper. Blitz into a smooth paste and set aside.
  4. Next we are going to clean the pork from the bone, removing the skin, and cut it into 2 inch cubes.
  5. In a large Ziploc bag, combine your pork and chili mixture. Massage the bag to make sure all the pork is coated, and place in fridge for at least 3 hours. If you leave it to marinate overnight, be sure not to use foil. After at least 3 hours place the pork in a dish and cook in the oven at 275° for 3 hours.
  6. In a bowl combine 560g of masa harina with 700ml of hot water. Give a good mix with a wooden spoon until a crumbly dough forms. Set aside and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  7. In a stand mixer, whip 375g of lard for 2 minutes until it’s light and fluffy. Add 1 ½ tsp of baking powder and 1 tsp of kosher salt. Mix to combine before adding our soaked masa. Slowly add while scraping down the sides with a spoon, and then slowly add 1 cup of warm chicken stock. Mix to combine. Let the tamale dough rest in the fridge for at least one hour.
  8. Take pork mixture out of the oven and shred it with a fork, and add some of the marinade back to the pork.
  9. Roast some poblano peppers on your stovetop, wrap them in foil, and let them steam in there before we peel them.
  10. Once they’ve steamed, peel the blackened char off the peppers and slice them into strips.
  11. Take your corn husk, open it up, and spread your tamale dough in a relatively thin and even layer over the top half of the corn husk leaving a 2 inch border on each side. Stuff with your fillings, and roll together so that the two sides of the tamale dough meet in the middle. Fold up the tapered end of the corn husk, and with 2 small strips of corn husks, tie together in the center. Repeat for however many tamales you would like to make. This recipe calls for two kinds of tamales, one with peppers and cheese, the other with your pork.
  12. Place all the tamales standing up in the steam basket of a large pot. Cover the top of the tamales with some corn husks to help concentrate the steam in the steamer. Add about 2 cups of water, and cook for about 45 minutes.
  13. Once you remove the tamales from the pot, let them rest for 30 minutes before digging in.
  14. Remove the corn husk and enjoy!