Tamale Pie

Tamale Pie

As weird as Tamale may sound, I weirdly loved the name given to this dish. Tamale Pie is a comfort food that originates from US in the early 1900. Though it has its origin from US, the flavors are totally Mexican inspired. 

It is said that the original recipe of Tamale takes hours of labor and due to the time consuming process, the authentic recipe isn't followed as much. After hours of researching I understood that Tamale isn't actually a pie, it is more like a casserole; never mind the name. This corn bread casserole is super easy to prepare, more like a shepherd's pie, corn version.

Interesting yea?!

Well, I wasn't quite aware of this dish, until lately when I happened to read about Tamale Pie… I wanted to try it right away! Usually, the dish is prepared using any red meat or minced chicken, or  can be done using only veggies. This dish makes a great veg/keto dish too if made slight variations in the ingredients.

Generally, the pie has its corn crust as the top layer, but I wanted to try it with a twist and made the corn layer as the base. Even though I love Mexican flavors, I don't usually stock up on Mexican ingredients so for the base, I used Masa Harina/cornmeal crust; flour made using dried corn kernels, and I had some cauliflower in the fridge waiting to be used. So I immediately blitzed the cauliflower and used it along with the base. Though I was quite unsure if the base would become soggy, I took the wrong road without the seatbelt. And oh boy was it a success! Alhamdulilah!

Also I made my own red enchilada sauce too from scratch! I am so happy that this dish turned out exactly like the comfort food I had in mind. I had to share the recipe today itself, before I forget how I prepared it!

The best part is that, if you prepare this dish, you will always have an additional casserole to save, which calls for a meal that is ready to it! For the cheesy layer I only used mozzarella cheese. You may use a combination of Monterey jack. cheddar cheese, mozzarella etc.

This recipe is definitely a keeper! Without further a-do lets gets started!


Corn Base:

  • 1 cup Cornmeal/ Masa Harina
  • 1/2 cup Blitzed Cauliflower (optional)
  • 1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
  • A pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 cup canned creamed corn or corn niblets
  • 1 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • Salt as required.

Red Enchilada Sauce:

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil 
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp red chilly powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 Large Tomato, blended**/ 1 store bought canned tomato sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced/ 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt, as required

Meat Filling:

  • 250 gms ground beef
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • Salt, as required
  • 1 cup Mozarella*
  • Sliced Pickled Jalapenos, for garnish
  • Finely chopped Tomatoes, for garnish (without the inner core)


  1. Prepare your enchilada sauce, by stiring your oil, flour, chilli powder, cumin powder and oregano in a sauce pan on sim and allow to bubble.

  2. Add in your beef broth, tomato sauce, garlic and salt as required.
  3. Allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes, stir occasionally. Set aside, allow to cool.
  4. Preheat oven to 210 deg C. Grease a large casserole dish with butter or cooking spray.
  5. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients under corn base. Now, into the prepared casserole dish, transfer the corn base and bake for around 15-20 minutes, or until golden. Allow to cool.

  6. In a skillet, over pour olive oil and sauté your chopped onions and minced garlic , once fragrant add in your seasonings like chilly powder, cumin powder, salt and pepper. Now add in your ground beef, break the meat using your wooden spoon, for around 6-7 minutes, until no pink color in visible. Drain the residual fat, that oozes out.

  7. Once your corn base has cooled, poke in using a fork and pour in your prepared enchilada sauce.

  8. Add your prepared beef and top with cheese.

  9. Cover with foil and bake for around 15-20 minutes. Allow to broil after removing the foil, so that cheese turns golden, for around 5 minutes.
  10. Your delicious Tamale Pie is ready to serve. Garnish with chopped tomatoes and sliced pickled jalapenos and a dollop of sour cream if you have or a sprinkle of chopped parsley will do. 


Other recipes calls for baking powder, I did not use here.
*You may use a combination of Monterey jack. cheddar cheese, mozzarella etc.
**If using fresh tomatoes, use a dash of Tomato ketchup to balance the tanginess.
The above recipe I divided into two medium casserole dishes so that I could use the other one later.

Do try this recipe and don't forget to share your experience/feedback with me here in the comments or feel free to send me a mail. Also, do tag me at #taystedit if you try out my recipes on Facebook, Instagram etc so that I can see when you make it. ♡♡♡♡

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