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Making Tamales Without Corn Husks

Tamales With Banana Leaves

Just Mexican Food
In the South and South-Eastern regions of Mexico, the bank leaf is favored. In these parts of the country, the moisture favors the cultivation of banana trees. Also, this is where people use certain spices that give tamales a somewhat Asian taste. This can be explained by the fact that the Nao of China arrived in the coasts of Guerrero many centuries ago bringing not only products from Asia but also cultural practices that still prevail in this huge region. Moreover, Banana leaves work very well with your choice of tamale wrapper alternatives, and especially with pork grease, as they don’t stick together as you will see if you follow this wonderful pork tamal recipe.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 3 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 12 tamales


  • Large pot
  • blender
  • spoon
  • Pan
  • Bowls
  • Cup
  • Steamer


  • 1 kg 400 grams of pork cut into squares
  • 8 ancho chiles other chiles can work out as well
  • 1 package of banana leaves
  • 3 spoonfuls of ground black pepper
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 spoonful of cumin
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 cup of water

For the mass

  • 1 kg og Maseca
  • 1 kg of lard
  • 1 liter of water
  • Salt


  • Wash the banano leaves and warm them up in hot water on a low heat until they are tender.
  • Remove the hard edge of the leaves and cut them in squares.
  • Cook the ancho chile until it feels tender. Remove the seeds.
  • Blend the ancho Chile, the garlic, the onion, cumin, salt, pepper, and the water.
  • Add this sauce to the raw pork.
  • In a bowl, stir the cornflour Maseca with the lard. You need to mix it until you get a creamy and homogeneous paste.
  • Gradually pour the water in the mix, and keep stirring. Add the salt. Knead the mix until the mass is spongy and soft.
  • Place a square of banano leaves on the palm of your hand and put a bit of mass on it. Extend it on the surface of the leaves with the reverse of a spoon. You’ll do this until you feel that you get to the right size of your tamal.
  • Add a little bit of the pork in the sauce and distribute it along the tamal. Then fold the tamal.
  • Folding this kind of tamal can be tricky. Firstly, you need to fold the lateral edges of the leaves into the center and then you fold the upper and the lower edges on the back of the teal. Repeat this procedure with all the tamales.
  • Place the tamale in a steamer. You need to cook them for one hour and a half.
  • Serve on a plate with a fork.


Tips and Tricks 

People prefer Acuyo banana leaf as it gives tamales, especially those with pork,  quite a delicious taste. Also, there are some people who prefer guajillo Chile instead of ancho Chile. This will work for you if you prefer a sweeter tamal. If you love spicy food, you can definitely use Chile de árbol, they are hot and will make your day!
Keyword how to make tamales with banana leaves, making tamales without corn husks, tamale corn husk substitute, tamale wrapper alternatives