Tamales de Rajas con Queso

tamales de rajas con queso

Most of you usually look forward to the Salvadoran recipes I post here, but today I have a Mexican recipe that both Carlos and I love, (and it’s rare that I can get away with serving Carlos a vegetarian meal!) Mexican tamales de rajas con queso are my favorite, (well, they’re tied with Salvadoran tamales de elote fritos.)

I make these tamales with Monterey Jack cheese, roasted Poblano peppers, and then top with chipotle sauce. It’s the perfect combination and the flavor reminds me a bit of Mexican chiles rellenos, (another favorite dish of mine. Can you tell I love cheese?) Since the filling is vegetarian and I have a few vegetarians in the family, I also make the masa with vegetable broth and Canola oil instead of chicken broth and lard. A little salsa added to the masa gives it a pretty color and plenty of flavor – ¡No te preocupes!

As for Salvadoran recipes, I only recently learned that Salvadoran tamales de chipilín have queso in them too, so I may have to give those a try next. If they turn out well, I’ll be sure to share it here. For now, I hope you enjoy this recipe. Buen provecho!

Tamales de Rajas con Queso / Roasted Pepper and Cheese Tamales

For the masa you need:

4 cups instant corn masa mix for tamales (I use MASECA brand)
2 2/3 cups vegetable broth
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/3 cup Canola oil
1/4 cup La Costeña chipotle sauce (keep the rest of the can for later)


1. In a large bowl, combine MASECA, baking powder, and salt.

2. With your hands, mix in vegetable broth, canola oil, and chipotle sauce.

3. Work the masa for several minutes until fluffy. If it doesn’t seem moist enough, you can add a little more vegetable broth and work it in. Set aside.

For the filling you need:

3 large Poblano peppers
1 lb. Monterey Jack cheese, sliced in long pieces about 1/2 inch in width

Other supplies:

corn husks for tamales, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes
a steamer pot
2 pennies
aluminum foil, ripped into about twenty 12×8 inch pieces


4. Wash and dry the peppers. Rub a little Canola oil on them and then roast them over medium high heat on a comal/griddle, turning occasionally until blackened.

5. Once roasted, put the peppers into a plastic bag to “sweat.” Seal the bag well. Wait 15 minutes. Remove peppers from the bag, and use a metal spoon to scrape as much of the skin off as you can. Slice peppers open, remove stem and seeds. Slice peppers into long pieces about 1/2 inch in width.

6. To assemble the tamales, take a corn husk, shake dry. Place on a flat surface, spread masa on the corn husk, leaving an inch or two at the tapered bottom without masa.

7. Place 1 piece of cheese and 2 pieces of Poblano pepper in the middle. Fold the sides in, then fold the bottom up. Do not fold the top. Wrap the tamal in foil, leaving the top completely open.

8. Set the tamal into the steamer pot vertically, top up, (with water and pennies in the bottom part of the pot.)

9. Repeat until you have about 20 tamales. Put steamer pot on the stove over medium-high heat. Cover.

10. Cook about 1 hour. You may need to add more water during cook time. If the pennies start clanking around instead of gently jingling, you need more water. When you pour more water into the pot, avoid getting it on the tamales.

11. To test for doneness, remove 1 tamal from the pot. Set it on the counter or a plate and let it sit for 5 minutes. If after 5 minutes, you are able to cleanly pull the corn husk off without masa sticking, they’re done.

12. Serve with chipotle sauce to pour on top.

Bistec Salvadoreño a la Parilla

Summertime is almost here, and that means afternoons which turn into late nights on the patio enjoying good food and good company.

When Carlos and I were dating and early in our marriage, we were often invited to parties at the house of a family friend from El Salvador. Don Andres is from San Miguel, and he always made the best grilled steak. Paired with generous helpings of rice, salad, chirmol, beans, and tortillas piled onto a Styrofoam plate, and eaten with a cold drink on a hot day, it’s one of my favorite meals. When I asked Don Andres for his recipe years ago, he rattled off some ingredients, but wasn’t precise about measurements. I scribbled them down and over the years figured out the right amounts and made my own little changes based on what I usually have on hand. So, here’s the recipe we use now when we want tender, flavorful Salvadoran-style steaks on the grill!

Bistec Salvadoreño a la Parilla

(Salvadoran Grilled Steak)


1 cup Canola oil
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 tbs. white vinegar
almost 1/3 cup red cooking wine
juice of 1 medium-sized lime
3 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs. black pepper
2 tbs. yellow mustard
2 tbs. minced garlic
1 large white onion sliced

2 to 3 lbs. top sirloin steak sliced about 1/4 inch thin (“butterflied”)
(at a Latino market this cut may be labelled “Palomilla”)


1. Put 1 tablespoon white vinegar into a 1/3 cup. Fill the rest of the way with red cooking wine.

2. In a medium bowl add the white vinegar and red cooking wine with Canola oil, soy sauce, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, yellow mustard, and garlic. Mix until combined.

3. Pour the marinade into a large glass Pyrex or large plastic zipper bag. Add the steaks and sliced onions. Cover and refrigerate for 5 hours. [Tip: Now is a good time to prepare your side dishes.]

4. While getting the grill ready (we prefer charcoal), remove the steaks from the marinade and let them sit at room temperature. Remove the onions from the marinade. (I cook the onions in a frying pan on the stove top, then serve atop the steaks.) Discard the marinade.

5. Grill the steaks on both sides to your desired doneness. Serve with onions, rice, tortillas, beans, chirmol, and fresh salad. Enjoy!

Huevos Duros en Escabeche de Remolacha (Recipe in English and Spanish)

pickled eggs

Over the years I’ve shared mostly Salvadoran recipes here, but today I want to share something from my side of the family because it’s something Carlos loves — Maybe you’ll give it a try and love it too.

Pickled eggs are a traditional dish we have each year with Easter dinner, but they can’t be just any regular pickled eggs. In Pennsylvania beets are used; in addition to adding to the flavor, beets give them a pretty purple color. (Kind of like Salvadoran Ensalada Rusa!)

Pickled Eggs

What you need:

1 dozen large eggs, hard boiled and peeled

2 (14.5 oz.) cans sliced beets in beet juice
(Beets can be “small whole” or sliced, but it’s important that you DON’T get the kind that are already pickled.)

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups white vinegar


1. In a large pot, combine the entire contents of the cans, including the liquid, the sugar, and the vinegar. Heat to boiling, then lower to a simmer.

2. Simmer for 5 minutes and stir to dissolve sugar. When the liquid is tasted hot, it should make you cough a little bit. If not, you may want to add a little more vinegar.

3. Remove from heat and cool. Once cool, pour the liquid into a tall jar or pitcher with a lid that seals. Add the peeled hard boiled eggs and make sure they’re all covered by the liquid and beets. Cover and store in the refrigerator.

4. Wait at least 24 hours before serving. Some wait 2 or 3 days so the flavor and color will penetrate deeper into the eggs. Eat within about a week.

Variations: Traditionally some families add pickling spice. Yet another variation you could try is to add fresh garlic, slices of onion, and slices of fresh jalapeño if you’d like a spicy kick.


Huevos duros en escabeche de remolacha, (o Huevos duros encurtidos)


1 docena de huevos grandes, hervidos y pelados

2 (14.5 oz.) latas de remolacha en rodajas en jugo de remolacha
(Las remolachas pueden ser “pequeñas enteras/small whole” o cortadas en rodajas, pero es importante que NO obtengas el tipo que ya están en escabeche.)

3/4 taza de azúcar

1 1/2 tazas de vinagre blanco


1. En una olla grande, combine todo el contenido de las latas, incluyendo el líquido, el azúcar y el vinagre. Calentar a hervir, luego bajar a fuego lento.

2. Cocine a fuego lento durante 5 minutos y revuelva para disolver el azúcar. Cuando pruebes el líquido caliente, debe hacerte toser un poco. Si no, puedes agregar un poco más de vinagre.

3. Retire del fuego y enfríe. Una vez que se enfríe, vierta el líquido en una jarra alta o recipiente alta con una tapa que sella. Agregar los huevos duros pelados y asegúrete de que están cubiertos por el líquido y remolachas. Cubrir y guardar en el refrigerador.

4. Esperar por lo menos 24 horas antes de servir. Algunos esperan 2 o 3 días por lo que el sabor y el color penetrarán más profundamente en los huevos. Comer dentro de una semana.

Variaciones: Tradicionalmente, algunas familias añaden especias de decapado/pickling spice. Otra variante que puedes probar es agregar ajo fresco, rebanadas de cebolla y rebanadas de jalapeño fresco si quieres un sabor más picante.

Salpores de Arroz

salpores de arroz salvadoreños

Two days ago I received a request in comments for any type of Salvadoran “pan duro” to go with coffee. The first one that came to mind was salpores de arroz, which are a crunchy cookie-like pan dulce made with rice flour. Traditionally salpores come in a few different shapes and are sprinkled with pink or red-colored sugar.

Although these aren’t a Valentine’s Day cookie, they’d make a pretty sweet surprise for your valentine, especially if he or she happens to be Salvadoran.

Salpores de Arroz


3 cups rice flour
1 cup sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 extra large eggs, slightly beaten

For topping: pink or red sugar


1. In a large bowl, whisk together the rice flour, 1 cup sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder.

2. Add butter and knead by hand until combined.

3. Add eggs and knead by hand an additional 10 minutes. The dough will be very dry and crumbly. You must work the dough until it all comes together.

4. Preheat oven to 350 F.

5. Take a golf ball-sized amount of dough in your hands and shape it into a flat oval, then press three flat fingers into it to make indentations. Place the cookie on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat for each cookie.

6. Sprinkle cookies with pink or red-colored sugar. Bake on middle rack of oven for 18 minutes until cookies are nicely browned on the bottoms.

7. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet. Serve with coffee. Makes about 18 salpores de arroz.

Hojuelas Salvadoreñas

hojuelas salvadoreñas

Hojuelas (pronounced oh-hway-las) are a sweet, fried treat eaten in El Salvador on November 2nd for Día de los Difuntos. You can often see women cooking them and selling them on the street.

Salvadoran hojuelas are the same thing as Mexican buñuelos, but what some Latin American countries call buñuelos, El Salvador also calls nuégados. Sufficiently mixed up? Me too.

Anyway, while I was researching and trying to sort all that out, I found a couple relevant dichos to share.

“Miel sobre hojuelas” is a dicho which is similar in meaning to the English saying “icing on the cake” and “No todo es miel sobre hojuelas” is similar in meaning to the English saying “It’s not all fun and games.” I searched online newspapers and found the dichos were both used in Mexican newspapers, but I don’t think the dichos are used in El Salvador, or at least Carlos said he isn’t familiar with them.

Anyway, if you’re an hermano lejano*, or just otherwise not anywhere you can buy hojuelas, below is a recipe to make your own!

[*”Hermano lejano” is an endearing term meaning “faraway brother” which is used by Salvadorans in El Salvador to refer to Salvadorans who live abroad.]

Hojuelas Salvadoreñas

2 1/2 cups pre-sifted all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup 1% milk

oil for cooking
miel de panela (recipe here), or sugar for sprinkling
extra flour for rolling out the dough

1. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, and salt.

2. Add the flour little by little, alternating with the milk, until the dough forms. The dough should not be sticky – if it is, add a little more flour.

3. Turn the dough onto a flat, floured surface, and divide into 16 balls.

Tip: I originally separated the dough into 8 balls, but soon realized that once rolled out these hojuelas (while traditionally sold on the street this large), would be too big to properly fry in my frying pan. So please, in the next step when you roll them out, make sure you’re not making them too big to fit in the frying pan you plan to use.

4. With a floured rolling pin, roll out each ball until very thin. (Ideally the dough should be rolled out thinner than a flour tortilla. It’s okay if it’s not perfectly circular, and it’s okay if the dough tears a little. They don’t have to be perfect!)

Tip: Keep your rolled out hojuelas from sticking to each other by separating them with parchment paper.

5. Over medium-high heat in a large frying pan, heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. The oil should be at least a 1/4 inch deep. (Deeper is better, but I personally hate wasting so much cooking oil.)

6. Carefully fry the hojuelas one-by-one until nicely browned on each side, flipping with tongs as necessary.

7. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain off excess oil. If sprinkling with sugar instead of serving with miel, sprinkle them while still hot.

8. Serve drizzled with miel de panela, or sprinkled with sugar.

Fiesta ensalada de pollo salvadoreña para sándwiches

Sandwich de pollo salvadoreno

Divulgación: Latinaish.com se ha asociado con McCormick para llevarse recetas utilizando productos McCormick. Como siempre, todas las opiniones son mías.

Puede sorprender a algunos saber que la ensalada de pollo es popular en muchos países del mundo, a pesar de sus ingredientes varían de lo que nosotros en los Estados Unidos consideramos comunes. Unas variaciones que conozco:

Goi Ga de Vietnam cuenta con repollo, salsa de pescado, chiles picantes, y hierbabuena.
Dak-Nangchae de Corea se come en verano e incorpora un montón de verduras coloridas.
• En México mucha gente comen ensalada de pollo con galletas saladas.
Coronación ensalada de pollo de Inglaterra cuenta con curry en polvo y chutney de mango, y se hizo por primera vez en 1953 para el almuerzo de la coronación de la reina Isabel II.
• Hablando de reinas, «palta a la reina» en Perú y Chile es una ensalada de pollo servida encima de la mitad de un aguacate.
Salpicão de Frango de Brasil incluye manzana, zanahoria, pasas y aceitunas.
• Y luego está «Olivie ensalada» que se cree que es el origen de las ensaladas de pollo y ensaladas rusas. También conocida como Olivier ensalada o ensalada Olivier, hoy en día por lo general es una combinación de pollo, papas, huevo, chícharos y mayonesa con infinitas variaciones, pero cuando fue inventada en la década de 1860 por un chef llamado Lucien Olivier en Rusia, estaba hecha con ingredientes más finos, como el urogallo, alcaparras, caviar y pato ahumado en un aderezo que era un secreto muy bien guardado. Las versiones modernas de esta ensalada son muy populares en toda Europa del Este, así como en Irán, Israel, Pakistán, Mongolia, y más allá.

Con todos estos diferentes tipos de ensalada de pollo en todo el mundo no me debería haber sorprendido cuando Carlos me dijo que la ensalada de pollo es también muy popular en El Salvador, específicamente en las fiestas de cumpleaños infantiles.

Salvadoran Birthday Party Chicken Sandwich

Carlos recuerda asistir muchas fiestas de cumpleaños en su barrio cuando era un niño pequeño y con ganas de recibir un sándwich de ensalada de pollo envuelto en una servilleta de papel blanco, en el momento que entraba por la puerta. Cuando Carlos compartió este recuerdo conmigo, decidí tratar de recrear los sándwiches de su infancia. Con sus sugerencias, esta es la receta que he desarrollado y él dice que sabe a la perfección!

El uso de pechugas de pollo de calidad, cocinadas a fuego lento con verduras frescas garantiza que la carne salga jugosa y sabrosa. Desmenuzado y mezclado con McCormick Mayonesa con jugo de limón que añade sabor tradicional, especias, y algunos toques de salsa Worcestershire – esta ensalada de pollo sabe mejor fría y comida al día siguiente, pero será difícil esperar. Deliciosa en suaves rebanadas de pan blanco, puedes quitar las cortezas, si quieres. Pero no importa cómo decidas comerla, esta ensalada de pollo al estilo salvadoreño es bastante exquisita para servir en fiestas de cumpleaños, pero es bastante fácil que no tienes que esperar una ocasión especial; puedes hacerla cualquier día y disfrutar con tu familia.



Cumpleaños Ensalada de Pollo

Fiesta ensalada de pollo salvadoreña para sándwiches


3 pechugas grandes de pollo, sin piel, sin hueso
1 cebolla mediana, cortado en cuartos
1 chile verde mediano, sin semillas y cortado en trozos grandes
1 tomate Roma, cortado en cuartos
1 cucharada de ajo picado
1 cucharadita de sal
1 cucharadita de McCormick pimienta negra molida

2 tazas de McCormick Mayonesa con jugo de limón
1 cucharadita de mostaza amarilla
¼ cucharadita de McCormick pimienta negra molida
½ cucharadita de McCormick ajo en polvo
½ cucharadita de McCormick cebolla en polvo
½ cucharadita de salsa Worcestershire


1. Añadir los primeros siete ingredientes en una olla grande a fuego medio-alto con agua suficiente para cubrir. Poner a hervir y luego reducir el fuego a fuego lento. Cubrir la olla ligeramente con la tapa. Ajustar el fuego si es necesario para mantenerlo a fuego lento hasta que el pollo esté bien cocido.

Consejo: Evite hervir o cocinar el pollo demasiado tiempo ya que esto hará que la carne esté muy seca. Cocer a fuego lento mantiene la carne húmeda. Tienes poco tiempo? Utilice pechugas de pollo delgadas o «chicken tenders» – se cocinan más rápido!

2. Retirar el pollo y poner en un plato para enfriar. Una vez frío, desmenuzar con la mano en trozos pequeños y colóquelos en un recipiente grande.

3. Mezclar la mayonesa, la mostaza, la pimienta, el ajo en polvo, cebolla en polvo, y la salsa Worcestershire hasta que estén bien combinados en un recipiente mediano.

4. En el recipiente grande mezclar la mezcla de mayonesa poco a poco con el pollo hasta que consigas la cremosidad deseada. En mi opinión es mejor usar aproximadamente 1/3 taza de la mezcla de mayonesa por cada 1 taza de pollo desmenuzado.

5. Enfriar en el refrigerador al menos una hora o durante la noche para permitir que los sabores se combinan. Servir la ensalada de pollo entre rebanadas de pan blanco.

Opcional: Agregar rebanadas de pepino, una hoja de lechuga romana, o cualquier ingrediente que te gusta en el sándwich. Algunas personas también les gusta cortar las cortezas del pan y envolver cada sándwich en una servilleta para servir en las fiestas.

Rinde aproximadamente 6 tazas de ensalada de pollo.

¿Quiere más recetas así? Visita www.McCormick.com/espanol!

Want this recipe in English? Click here.

Salvadoran Chicken Salad Birthday Party Sandwiches

Sandwich de pollo salvadoreno

Disclosure: Latinaish.com has partnered with McCormick to bring you recipes using McCormick products. As always, all opinions are my own.

It may surprise some to know that chicken salad is popular in many countries throughout the world, although its ingredients vary from what those of us in the United States consider the norm. A few variations I know of:

Goi Ga from Vietnam features cabbage, fish sauce, spicy chilies, and mint.
Dak-Nangchae from Korea is eaten in the summer and incorporates plenty of colorful vegetables.
Ensalada de Pollo from Mexico is often eaten on Saltine crackers.
Coronation chicken salad from England features curry powder and mango chutney, and was first made in 1953 for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation lunch.
Peruvian and Chilean “palta a la reina” is chicken salad served atop an avocado half.
Salpicão de Frango from Brazil includes apple, carrot, raisins, and olives.
• And then there’s Salad Olivie, which is believed to be the origin of chicken salads and Russian salads. Also known as Salad Olivier or Olivier Salad, these days it’s usually a combination of chicken, potato, egg, green peas, and mayonnaise with endless variations, but when it was invented in the 1860’s by a restaurant chef named Lucien Olivier in Russia, it was made with fancier ingredients such as grouse, capers, caviar, and smoked duck in a dressing which was a closely guarded secret. Modern versions of this salad are popular throughout Eastern Europe, as well as in Iran, Israel, Pakistan, Mongolia, and beyond.

With all these different types of chicken salad from around the world I shouldn’t have been so surprised when Carlos first told me that chicken salad is also popular in El Salvador, specifically at children’s birthday parties.

Salvadoran Birthday Party Chicken Sandwich

Carlos remembers attending many birthday parties in his neighborhood as a little boy and looking forward to being handed a chicken salad sandwich wrapped in a white paper napkin when he walked through the door. When he shared this memory with me, I decided to try to recreate the birthday party sandwiches of his childhood. With his input, this is the recipe I developed and he says it tastes just right!

Using quality chicken breasts which are slow-simmered with fresh vegetables ensures the meat is moist and flavorful. Shredded and mixed with McCormick Mayonnaise with Lime Juice which adds traditional sabor, spices, and a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce – this chicken salad tastes even better chilled and eaten the next day, but it’ll be difficult to wait. Spoon it onto slices of soft, white bread and cut off the crusts if you like. However you eat it, this Salvadoran-style chicken salad is yummy enough to serve at birthday parties, but easy enough that you don’t have to wait for a special occasion to whip up a batch for your family.



Cumpleaños Ensalada de Pollo

(Want this recipe en español? Click here.)

Salvadoran Chicken Salad Birthday Party Sandwiches


3 large chicken breasts, skinless, boneless
1 medium onion, quartered
1 medium green pepper, seeded and cut in large pieces
1 Roma tomato, quartered
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon McCormick black pepper

2 cups McCormick Mayonnaise with Lime Juice
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
¼ teaspoon McCormick black pepper
½ teaspoon McCormick garlic powder
½ teaspoon McCormick onion powder
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


1. Add first seven ingredients to a large pot over medium high heat with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil then reduce heat so it’s at a slow simmer. Cover loosely. Adjust heat lower if needed to keep it at a simmer until chicken is cooked through.

Tip: Avoid boiling or over-cooking the chicken as this will result in the meat being dry. Simmering keeps the meat moister. Short on time? Use chicken tenders instead of chicken breasts – they cook faster!

2. Remove chicken to a plate to cool. Once cool, shred by hand into small bite-size pieces and place into a large bowl.

3. Mix the mayonnaise, mustard, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and Worcestershire sauce until well combined in a medium-sized bowl.

4. In the large bowl mix the mayonnaise mixture a little at a time into shredded chicken until desired creaminess is achieved. I found it tastes best to use about 1/3 cup mayonnaise mixture for every 1 cup shredded chicken.

5. Chill for at least one hour or overnight to allow flavors to combine. Serve chicken salad between slices of white bread.

Optional: Add slices of cucumber, a leaf of romaine lettuce, or whatever toppings you like to the sandwich. Some people also like to cut off the crusts and wrap each sandwich in a napkin when serving at parties.

Yields approximately 6 cups chicken salad.

For more recipes like this, visit www.McCormick.com/Espanol!