Recipe: Tamales, Malo Restaurant

Robert Luna, chef at this favorite Silver Lake restaurant, shares his way of making this Christmas delicacy.


Chef Robert Luna grew up in Boyle Heights, where his mom worked in local restaurants and shopped at local markets.

Luna's mother's methods inspired his "L.A. style Chicano comfort food," handmade, in-house.

She also gave him the inspiration for a signature dish at Malo in Silver Lake, the pickle and beef taco.

Luna's been hard at work bringing more of that Eastside flavor and focus on local ingredients to Silver Lake's Malo of late.

Late this summer, Luna redesigned the menus at both Malo and Mas Malo downtown, where he is also chef.

(Click through to be redirected to the sites for both those restaurants.)

Dishes kale mole enchiladas with pumpkin and lengua in chile verde are two results of Luna's new spin.  

Luna and managing director Jeffrey Ellermeyer also discontinued Malo's Taco Tuesdays, hoping diners would order the new dishes, designed to mix, pair and share.

Malo, of course, held on to some favorites, including the pork tamales.

Luna shared his recipe with us for the Christmas holiday, when tamales are made shared in a variety of Central and South American countries.

Enjoy. And share your own recipes here.

Pork Tamales
Courtesy of Chef Robert Luna, Malo and Mas Malo

5 pounds boneless pork shoulder 
1 onion
5 garlic cloves
1/2 gallon water
½ cup corn oil
Chopped pork masa (from a Latin market)
1 cup New Mexico chili powder
Corn husk (for wrap)
2 heaping tablespoons of flour
Tablespoon salt

(Soak corn husk in warm water overnight)
Boil everything together - 2-3 hrs till pork is tender
Remove pork let cool and chop
In a heated pan, add 1/2 cup corn oil
Heat and stir in 1 cup New Mexico chili powder
Add 2 heaping tablespoons of flour to make a paste
Whisk in the water from the pork to make a nice saucy consistency
Mix in chopped pork masa
Smear masa on corn husk
Fill with pork roll
Steam for 45 min 


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