Tamales de Pipián

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • 36

    small tamales

Appears in

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

By Patricia McCausland-Gallo

Published 2004

  • About

Tamales de Pipián are typical of the Valle del Cauca region—and are something out of this world. They are smaller than other tamales, somewhat like an appetizer size. They contain a yellow potato mixture called pipián, and are served with an extraordinary hot Ají de Maní. They are not hard to prepare; just read the recipe several times to put some of the steps in order in your mind and go. Enjoy, as they are really worth it.


Pork Filling

  • pounds pork, cut in ½-inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 4 tablespoons minced scallion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon Adobo* Goya
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper


  • cups minced scallion
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • cups peeled, diced tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced and then mashed
  • 2 teaspoons minced cilantro
  • ½ beef bouillon cube
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin*


  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds (4 cups) diced yellow potatoes, ½-inch dice
  • ½ cup unsalted, roasted peanuts, ground
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and diced


  • 3 cups (1 pound) yellow corn masa flour*
  • 2 tablespoons minced scallion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ beef bouillon cube
  • 1 cup cooking liquid from the pork
  • 1 teaspoon color*
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon Adobo* Goya
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin*
  • 12 bijao* or plantain leaves


  1. PREPARE THE FILLLING: In a bowl place the pork, oil, scallion, garlic, adobo, and pepper, mix well and set aside in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  2. In a medium pot over medium-low heat, place the seasoned pork and cups of water; cook covered for 30 to 45 minutes or until the pork is fully cooked and tender.
  3. Remove the meat from the liquid. Strain the cooking liquid and discard the vegetables. Set aside both the meat and cooking liquid.
  4. FOR THE HOGAO: in a medium pot over low heat cook the scallions in the oil for 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, bouillon cube, sugar, salt, pepper, and cumin, and continue to cook over low heat for 15 minutes more. Set aside.
  5. FOR THE POTATOES: In a large pot, place 3 cups water, the bouillon cube, and salt. Bring to a boil and add the potatoes. Cover and cook for 10 to 12 minutes; the potatoes will be very soft and the water will have thickened. Remove from the heat and let cool a little. Add the pork filling, hogao, ground peanuts, and diced eggs; mix well and set aside.
  6. PREPARE THE DOUGH: Place the masa flour with the scallion and garlic in a 4-quart bowl. Mix with a fork.
  7. Heat ½ cup of water in the microwave for 1 minute. Add the bouillon cube and dissolve.
  8. Add 4 cups of water, 1 cup of pork stock (the strained cooking liquid), color, salt, adobo, and cumin to the masa flour mixture. Mix well with your hands or with a fork. Make sure you have no lumps in the dough. Set aside.
  9. Wash the leaves well on both sides, dry, cut into 8-inch squares and set aside.
  10. Place one 8-inch square piece of bijao leaf on the work surface. In the center of the leaf place ¼ cup of masa; spread it into a 2- by 4-inch rectangle and flatten it with a fork. On the masa place 1 tablespoon of filling. Wrap the leaves around the “pie” or tamal in the form of an envelope. Tie with string.


  1. In a large pot, bring enough water to cover tamales to a boil. Put a rack on the bottom of another 7-quart pot and place the tamales on the rack. Pour in enough of the boiling water to cover the tamales. Bring the water to a simmer, cover and simmer for 40 minutes.
  2. Remove the tamales from the pot (discard the liquid) and let them sit for 5 minutes before untying.
  3. Cut the strings and serve with Ají de Maní.