Recipe courtesy of Joey Altman

Fish Tamales in Banana Leaves with Achiote Butter and Corn-Tomato Salsa

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Yield: 10 to 12 servings
  • Total: 1 hr 10 min
  • Prep: 1 hr
  • Cook: 10 min


1 package banana leaves

4 cups Masa mix, follow instructions on package

4 pounds Mahi Mahi or snapper or other firm-fleshed fish

Achiote-Chile Butter:

1 tablespoon achiote paste

1 ancho chile

1/4 pound butter, at room temperature

1 lime, juiced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoons minced cilantro

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, toasted

Corn Salsa:

1 cup sweet corn, cut off the cob and blanched

1/4 cup red onion, small diced

1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quarters if large

1 scallion, minced

1/4 bunch cilantro, minced

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup olive oil

2 jalapenos, seeds removed and minced


  1. For the achiote butter: Mix everything in a food processor until well combined.
  2. For the corn salsa: Mix everything in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  3. For the tamales: Cut banana leaves into approximately 12-inch squares and wipe clean with damp towel. Place about 3 ounces of prepared tamale masa in the middle of the leaf and place a piece of fish on top of the masa. Coat the fish with achiote-chile butter then top with another spoonful of masa and spread over the fish to completely encase. Fold the edges of the banana leaf over the fish, making a packet. Tie with a string and steam for 10 minutes. Serve with Corn Salsa.
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