Lobster Tamales

Try this recipe for a fresh take on tamales, one of the most social meals to produce because many hands can help assemble the ingredients. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s free Seafood Watch app recommends wild-caught Spiny Lobster from California and Baja Mexico as well as wild-caught Caribbean Lobster from Florida. Avoid wild-caught Spiny Lobster from Brazil.

More info: Seafood Watch Program

Serves 6 as main course


  • 2 lbs. prepared masa harina
  • 1 dozen dried corn husks, reconstituted in lobster broth
  • 3 2-lb. spiny lobsters
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 large red (or green) bell pepper, roasted, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. dried cumin
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems removed and finely chopped


Place live lobsters in a large pot of boiling water with cup of white wine and pinches of cumin and red chili powder. Parboil for 5 minutes. Remove lobster and set aside broth. Remove meat from the tails, carapaces, and any legs of good size. Roughly cut or shred the meat into bite sized pieces and place into a bowl.  Squeeze the juice from one lime over the meat, cover with plastic wrap, and put in fridge. Use this lobster broth when you rehydrate the cornhusks for extra flavor and in the making of the masa.

Rub the bell pepper with vegetable oil and roast over an open flame or BBQ to char completely. While still hot, place the peppers in a plastic bag and set aside for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, wipe away the charred skin with paper towel, de-stem and remove seeds, chop into fine pieces, and set aside.

Heat the olive oil and butter in large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the chopped jalapeno, garlic, and cumin and warm ‘till fragrant. Add chopped lobster meat, bell pepper, a pinch of cilantro, and a splash of the Sauvignon Blanc you by now need to be consuming while cooking. Continue to sauté gently until the lobster meat turns completely white. Remove from pan, place in bowl, cover, and chill in the fridge for one hour.

Assemble the tamales with the prepared masa and a few tablespoons of the filling mixture per tamale to get 12 4- to 5-ounce tamales. Steam for 45 minutes to an hour over a constant gentle rolling steam in a tight-covered, large pot with a raised basket or tray between the water and tamales, with a splash of white wine in the boiling liquid to add some aromatics. Be careful to keep the water level away from tamales or you’ll end up with lobster corn porridge.  : o

Serve with your favorite green salsa and queso fresco or cotji cheese, a salty Mexican crumbly cheese.

by Jonah Waldman

More info: best practices for assembling tamales

This article first appeared on colorandaroma.com

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