Gene's Stovetop
Cup Tamale

Makes two 14-16 oz servings,

in about 25 minutes.
No baking!

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The Cup Tamale

This is based on the cup tamales I had as a kid in Sacramento a half century ago. They were available as fast-food or from a can at the grocery store (That's one tamale per can, not the kind you see today with six small ones in a can.) I haven't found them recently and started trying things that would provide the texture and flavors I remember without spending a long time in the kitchen.

The Corn Shell

Requires two 14 - 16 oz. ramekins or
vertical-sided soup bowls.


    2 cups water
    cup plus 1 tbsp corn meal
    - 1 tsp. salt (to taste)

In 1 qt. saucepan, bring water to rolling boil and reduce heat.
Add salt. Add cornmeal slowly, stirring constantly.
Cook until cornmeal thickens, 3 - 4 minutes.
Spoon mixture into ramekins and form into shell around sides and across bottom of ramekins. (I do this by pressing a can down into the corn meal and leaving it while I prepare the filling.)

Set aside.



    3 tbsp. shortening or lard
    3 tbsp. flour
    1 cup chicken broth
    2 tsp. chili powder *
    1 tsp. ground cumin *
    1 tsp. MSG (optional) *
    3 oz. shredded cooked pork or cubed,
            cooked chicken or turkey
    4-6 small or medium black olives
    2 tbsp. sour cream

Melt shortening in a shallow pan or skillet.
Add flour stirring constantly.
Reduce to medium heat and cook three minutes.
Remove from heat and slowly add broth and spices.
Return to heat and stir constantly until mixture thickens (like pudding).
Add meat and olives (hold out two olives for garnish) and continue to cook for 1 minute.
Remove from heat and spoon into corn shells.
Top with sour cream and olive.

Serve in the ramekin immediately.

Makes two 14 oz. servings.

* Spices, especially chili powders, vary widely in flavor and color. This will affect the flavor and color of the filling greatly. California Chili powder has a light color and mild flavor yielding a very mild, light orange sauce (shown here). Tradewinds New Mexico Chili powder (my favorite) is dark reddish-brown and makes a rich, brown, full flavored sauce.