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Recipe of the week - Mexican Tamale Pie

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The Adventurous Vegetarian

In The Adventurous VegetarianJane Hughes features 30 countries, 30 sumptuous menus and everything you need to give your friends and family a taste of how other vegetarians eat. 

Every week we're giving away a free recipe from this, the newest edition to our fleet of healthy, vegetarian, and global cookbooks. Next week there'll be a chance to win a copy of your own, as well as a bottle of wine courtesy of Vintage Roots: Organic Wine Merchant

This week we have a dish from Mexico: Tamale Pie. Too often, Mexican food is confused with ‘Tex-Mex’ food – nachos, chimichangas and burritos are more or less US inventions. But traditional Mexican food is so rich and varied, and so intricately bound up with the country’s cultural and social traditions, that in 2010 Mexican Cuisine was added to the UNESCO list of ‘intangible cultural heritage of humanity’, marking the fact that it deserved to be honoured and protected. 

Why not make it yourself and send us a photo on Facebook or Twitter

Tamale Pie

A colourful stand-alone main course, with a satisfying cornmeal topping hiding a secret layer of gooey melted cheese.


Tamale Pie

2 onions
2 cloves garlic
1 red chili
2 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying
2 tsp ground cumin
100g/3 ½ oz green beans
200g/7oz potatoes
200g/7oz sweet potatoes
1 tbsp lime juice
100g/3 ½ oz grated cheese
150g/5 oz cornmeal
2 tbsp plain white flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
60g/2oz corn kernels
60g/2oz red pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
2 eggs
125ml/½ cup milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil, for the pie crust


Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

Peel and finely chop the onions and garlic. Chop the chili finely. Peel the potatoes and sweet potatoes, and cut them into 1.5cm/ ¾ inch cubes. (Precision is not essential!) Trim the green beans and cut into bite-sized lengths. 

Heat the vegetable oil in a large, deep saucepan and saute the onions, garlic and chili together for 2 minutes, then stir in the potatoes, sweet potatoes, cumin and green beans, along with 500ml/2 cups of water. Bring the mixture to the boil, then simmer, covered, for 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender. 

Stir the lime juice into the cooked vegetables and transfer to a large, deep oven-proof dish. 

Chop the red pepper finely. Mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, corn kernels, chopped red pepper and fresh coriander together thoroughly in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the eggs and milk together with 2 tbsp vegetable oil, then fold the wet mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined.

Cover the vegetables in the dish with the grated cheese, then top with the cornmeal mixture and smooth the top. Bake for 30 minutes until heated through and golden. 

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