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Nacatamales (NIcaraguan Tamales)

Course Main Course
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 8
Calories 613 kcal


Masa Dough

  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 onion
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper
  • 3 cups masa harina
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth lukewarm, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • 1/2 orange juiced
  • 1/2 cup lard
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Nacatamale Filling

  • 1.5 pounds boneless pork loin cut into 3/4" cubes
  • 1/2 orange juiced
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • 1 tablespoon annato oil
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 3/8 cup long grain rice soaked in water
  • 1/4 pound potatoes peeled, sliced 1/4" thick
  • 1 large green bell pepper cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 medium tomatoes sliced
  • 8 green olives
  • 8 prunes
  • 2 tablespoons capers


Masa Dough

  1. Blend tomato, onion, and green bell pepper until completely pureed. Reserve half of tomato mixture for pork marinade (see below).

  2. Place masa harina in large bowl with salt. Add blended vegetables, chicken broth, lime juice, and orange juice. Mix well. Add lard and olive oil and stir until thoroughly incorporated. Cover and let stand 30 minutes.

Nacatamale Filling

  1. Place pork in a medium bowl. Add reserved tomato mixture, orange juice, lime juice, annato oil, salt and pepper. Let marinade while you prepare rest of filling ingredients.

Wrapping Nacatamales

  1. Cut banana leaves into roughly eight 10"x10" squares. Tear off eight 12"x12" square pieces of aluminum foil. Place each banana leaf on top of an aluminum foil square.

  2. Spoon about 3/4 cup masa dough in center of banana leaf and spread out. Place two piece of pork on top, followed by a tablespoon of soaked rice, a slice of potato, a piece of green bell pepper and a slice of tomato. Add an olive, a few capers, and a prune.

  3. Bring top and bottom ends of foil together and make a few folds down to meet the tamale. Fold the sides in as if wrapping a present. Tie with string to secure.

Pressure Steaming Nacatamales

  1. Pour 2 cups of water into Instant Pot. Place steamer rack on top and lay 4 nacatamales on top.

    Set pressure to high for 1 hour. Let slow release naturally.

Recipe Notes

Add sliced onion as a filling, if desired.

Nutrition Facts
Nacatamales (NIcaraguan Tamales)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 613 Calories from Fat 288
% Daily Value*
Fat 32g49%
Saturated Fat 10g63%
Cholesterol 84mg28%
Sodium 859mg37%
Potassium 812mg23%
Carbohydrates 56g19%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 26g52%
Vitamin A 1010IU20%
Vitamin C 44.8mg54%
Calcium 100mg10%
Iron 4.8mg27%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.