Cook the Book

Tamales de Queso (Cheese Tamales) From 'Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen'

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[Photograph: Paul Winch-Furness]

These tamales, from Martin Morales's cookbook, Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen, are much different from their Mexican brethren. Instead of using a dough made from masa and lard, they're made with pureed fresh corn, cooked down with butter, garlic, chili paste, and a touch of sugar. The corn paste gains structure and color from a couple of egg yolks and is then filled and steamed. Morales's tamales are still fairly light and fresh, despite the addition of the rich ingredients. A side of bright, spicy salsa criolla adds zip and crunch—don't skip it.

Why I picked this recipe: I've never made tamales using fresh corn.

What worked: I couldn't get enough of the super corn-y tamale dough.

What didn't: I had a hard time getting the corn totally smooth in my food processor. I'd definitely use a blender next time. If you're using fresh corn husks, you will probably end up needing to make smaller tamales.

Suggested tweaks: You'll have an easier time cooking the corn if you use a nonstick skillet. Morales suggests using this dough recipe for all kinds of tamale fillings, so be creative! I think it will work best with simple fillings, like this cheese one, to allow the corn flavor to shine.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen to give away this week.

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