Jahuacatas (bean tamales): Michoacán recipe with cornfield ingredients

Learn how to prepare traditional jahuacatas (bean tamales) as made by the chefs of the Purépecha region in Michoacán.

By Secretaría de Cultura

Michoacán Regional Unit—General Directorate of Popular, Indigenous and Urban Cultures

Recetas con ingredientes de la milpa 19 by Cinthya Ireri Vargas CervantesSecretaría de Cultura

Jahuacatas (bean tamales): Purépecha tamales

The jahuacatas (bean tamales) or corundas (tamales) are traditional bean tamales that the Purépecha communities of the state of Michoacán usually prepare on Easter, particularly on Good Friday.

Recetas con ingredientes de la milpa 8 by Cinthya Ireri Vargas CervantesSecretaría de Cultura

One of the distinctive features of this tamal is that it is made with several layers of masa dough with beans inbetween.

Recetas con ingredientes de la milpa by Cinthya Ireri Vargas CervantesSecretaría de Cultura

Want to know how this delicious and traditional dish is prepared? Let's look at the recipe with the guide of the traditional chef Francisca Ramírez Ángel, from the community of San Lorenzo, town of Uruapan, Michoacán.

Recetas con ingredientes de la milpa 3 by Cinthya Ireri Vargas CervantesSecretaría de Cultura

What ingredients are needed?

1) 6.5 pounds (3 kg) of masa dough for tamales

2) 26 ounces (750 g) of beans

3) 10 pieces of chile serrano (serrano pepper)

4) 30 corn leaves
5) Salt

Recetas con ingredientes de la milpa 4 by Cinthya Ireri Vargas CervantesSecretaría de Cultura

The process

After bringing the masa dough from the mill, a little water is added to soften it and the dough is kneaded until it fluffs up (when the air starts to come out).

Recetas con ingredientes de la milpa 2 by Cinthya Ireri Vargas CervantesSecretaría de Cultura

Separately, the beans are cooked and left slightly stewed (not well cooked). The necessary amount of salt is added to them, drained from the broth and cooled. Then, they are ground with the metate (mealing stone) with the chilis, until they form a soft and manageable paste.

Recetas con ingredientes de la milpa 5 by Cinthya Ireri Vargas CervantesSecretaría de Cultura

With the masa dough, tortillas are made a quarter of an inch thick and six inches in diameter.

Recetas con ingredientes de la milpa 6 by Cinthya Ireri Vargas CervantesSecretaría de Cultura

Then the bean paste is put on top. The tortilla is cut into four and placed one on top of another so that the masa dough and beans are interspersed.

Recetas con ingredientes de la milpa 7 by Cinthya Ireri Vargas CervantesSecretaría de Cultura

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The tamales will then be wrapped as corunda (tamales) with the corn leaf.

Recetas con ingredientes de la milpa 12 by Cinthya Ireri Vargas CervantesSecretaría de Cultura

Once the jahuacatas (bean tamales) are wrapped in the corn leaves, they will be cooked in acocucha (clay pot), steamed for 45–60 min.

Recetas con ingredientes de la milpa 17 by Cinthya Ireri Vargas CervantesSecretaría de Cultura

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When the tamales can be removed from the leaf, they are cooked.

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Ready!

These delicious tamales are usually eaten with a cup of coffee or with a guiso (stew) called atapakua.

Credits: Story

Michoacán Regional Unit—General Directorate of Popular, Indigenous and Urban Cultures
Recipe written by: Atanacia Campos Méndez and Marta Leticia Román Mares.
Photographs: Cinthya Ireri Vargas Cervantes
Preparation of corundas (tamales): Mrs. Francisca Ramírez Ángel- Traditional chef, community of San Lorenzo, Town of Uruapan, Michoacán. 

Credits: All media
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