Chuchitos, Guatemalan Chicken & Tomato Sauce Tamales Recipe

Chuchitos made from corn starch is said to be an ancient culinary dish that has existed since the time of the Mayans and Aztecs.

Chuchitos, Guatemalan mini tamales with chicken and tomato sauce (recado)
Chuchitos (youtube/Nuestra cocina guatemalteca)

*This post is available in Bahasa Indonesia 

Tamales are processed from corn starch wrapped in the corn leaves themselves or you can also use banana leaves and then steamed until cooked.  The name tamales come from the Nahuatl word “tamalli” which means wrapped.

Historically, tamales have been around since the time of the Mayans and Aztecs around 8000-5000 BC.  This dish is quite ancient but its delicacy is still enjoyed today.

The origins of two tribes are from the American continent, so, naturally, tamales are a special food in these countries, such as Mexico and Guatemala.

Especially in Guatemala, chicken tamales with tomato sauce (recado) are a distinct feature of existing tamales creations, that type of tamale is called Chuchitos.

If examined in terms of language, chuchitos does not have any meaning.  However, there is one Guatemalan slang that is quite similar to this word, namely "chuco" which means dog.  Even so, it can be said that it cannot define Chuchitos itself, it has nothing to do with chuchitos tamales.

Those of you who want to taste the delicacy of Guatemalan Chuchitos tamales can see the full recipe below!


Tomato sauce (recado):
  •  17 tomatoes
  •  1 guajillo chili or cayenne pepper
  •  2 bell peppers
  •  1 small onion
  •  4 cloves garlic
  •  Salt, sugar, and pepper to taste
Stuffing Ingredients:
  •  900 gr of chicken
  •  Salt and pepper to taste
Dough ingredients:
  •  900 gr corn flour
  •  2 tbsp butter
  •  3 tbsp vegetable oil
  •  Salt and pepper to taste 
  • 20 pieces of dry corn leaves

How to cook:

Step 1: Soak the corn leaves 
The very first thing you have to do is soak the corn leaves in hot water so that later they can be easily shaped or not stiff.

Step 2: Make the tomato sauce (recado)
Prepare a grill pan and then roast the tomatoes, chilies, peppers, garlic, and onions until fragrant and the skin turns blackish brown.

Peel the skin of the ingredients that have been baked then puree using a blender.  Cook the tomato mixture until slightly thick.

Step 3: Cook the chicken as the filling
Boil until the chicken is cooked for about 10 minutes.  Don't forget to add salt and pepper before boiling so that the spices infuse and enrich the taste of the chicken meat.  Small pieces of chicken or suir fit as a filling for chuchitos tamales.

Step 4: Make the tamale chucitos dough
In a large enough bowl, add the salt, pepper, butter, and vegetable oil, stir gently until smooth, then add the corn flour and some water.  Mix all the ingredients until the mixture is slightly thick like porridge or peanut butter.

Step 5: Make the chuchitos tamales
Take some dough and then put it on the corn leaves, add the chicken filling and tomato sauce then cover with a little dough, wrap and tie both ends of the corn leaves.
Step 6: Steam the mixture until cooked
Place the tamales on the steam tray, and wait about 40-60 minutes for the chchitos tamales to cook.

Chuchitos, Guatemalan mini tamales with chicken and tomato sauce (recado)
Chuchitos tamales (youtube/Cocinando con Alma)

Chuchitos are usually served on certain days, but there's nothing wrong if you want to enjoy them as an everyday dish. Chuchitos are served with additional tomato sauce (recado) or grated cheese.  Recado and cheese make the typical Guatemalan tamales richer in taste.

The sour and spicy taste of the tomato sauce can play the taste of this tamale so nicely.  Come on, try the chuchitos recipe and then enjoy the delicacy in every bite.  Enjoy!

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