Hanukkah Brisket Tamales

Hanukkah Brisket Tamales
Hanukkah Brisket Tamales

Sending my warmest wishes to you at Hanukkah
May you be blessed with joy, good health, peace, and tender brisket….

Hanukkah Brisket Tamales

Oh how we adore our brisket. And since the cooking process takes over eight hours, I usually make enough for leftovers and extra to freeze for later too. This year – the intersection of Hanukkah, brisket in the freezer, spying some mouth-watering tamales at LA’s Grand Central Market, and a tamalada (my Latino friends’ traditional Christmas season tamale-making party) – led to a unique holiday treat…Hanukkah Brisket Tamales. Made with my super-tender beef brisket, from a recipe that we have been making for many years. It is so good it’s one of the few recipes that I never adjust. The addition of carrots sautéed in olive oil and seasoned with a bit of cumin, salt and pepper plus a medley of sautéed onion and jalapeño adds fresh flavor and spiciness. The (optional) gouda cheese brings another dimension of smokiness and creamy texture. And lastly, who could resist the adorable little packages all wrapped up like a present, representing the age-old Jewish custom to give gifts of gelt to children on Hanukkah.

Note: Omit dairy or replace with non-dairy vegan substitutes for your Observant guests who follow the laws of kashrut (Jewish dietary laws).

Hanukkah Brisket Tamales Recipe

Hanukkah Brisket Tamales

Fresh Banana Leaves (Hojas de Platano) 


Cut banana leaves into 12″ squares. Rinse in cool water and dry thoroughly with kitchen towels. Briefly pass the squares over an open flame so they become soft and glossy. Set aside.

Olive Oil Tamale Batter (no lard or shortening)

How to make TAMALE dough with olive oil

Batter Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 c. masa harina
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 2 t. garlic powder
  • 1 t. Kosher salt
  • 2/3 c. olive oil, partially frozen
  • 3 c. chicken stock, warm

In a large mixing bowl, blend the dry ingredients with a hand mixer. Add olive oil a spoonful at a time. Then stream in 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock. Use the last 1/2 cup of stock if needed to make a soft cookie-dough-like batter.

Note: Batter recipe adapted from Terry Hope Romero.


The Best BRISKET Recipe

My brisket recipe can be found here.

Composing the Tamales

Hanukkah Brisket Tamales

Filling Ingredients:

  • brisket, shredded
  • sautéed carrot, small dice
  • sautéed onion and jalapeño, small dice
  • smoked gouda, sliced (optional)

Hanukkah Brisket Tamales Recipe

Spread a rectangle of batter (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup) onto the dull side of a banana leaf. Spread brisket over the batter. Top half the brisket with sautéed carrot, onion and jalapeño. Place a square of smoked gouda cheese over the vegetable mixture. Fold the right third of the leaf over the middle third to enclose the filling in the batter (see picture above). Then fold the other third over. Next, fold up the bottom and top portions to form a package. Tie with string.

Hanukkah Brisket Tamales
Place tamale packets vertically in a steamer. Steam, covered, for 60 minutes, adding more water if necessary. Remove from heat, uncover, and let stand for 15 minutes.

Hanukkah Brisket Tamales

Serve hot tamales with salsas and crema (optional).

Food Network


Holiday Sides

Hanukkah Brisket Tamales

With the first day of winter right around the corner, Fall Fest is coming to a close. It has been a season long franchise where Food Network editors team up with bloggers to share recipes about everyone’s favorite autumn dishes. Be sure to check out the Pinterest Board with over 240,000 followers called Let’s Pull Up A Chair!

And if my Hanukkah Brisket Tamales got you in the holiday mood for more – you might enjoy taking a peek at other festive recipes from some fabulous bloggers below…

Hanukkah Brisket Tamales

Feed Me Phoebe: Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Latkes with Scallions
The Lemon Bowl: Slow Cooker Apple Cranberry Sauce
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Warm Roasted Brussels Sprout Apple Salad with Blue Cheese and Pecans
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Lemon Roasted Fennel with Olives and Breadcrumbs #FallFest
Napa Farmhouse 1885: White Beans, Arugula & Sun Dried Tomatoes
Red or Green: Roasted Cauliflower & Garlic Soup with Chile
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Cheesy Winter Squash Bake
Virtually Homemade: Green Beans with Brown Butter and Almonds
The Cultural Dish: Kartoffelpuffer: German Potato Pancakes
The Mom 100: Baked Squash with Chili and Maple Syrup
Domesticate Me: Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Pomegranate and Avocado
Taste with the Eyes: Hanukkah Brisket Tamales with Carrot, Onion, and Jalapeño
FN Dish: 5 Seasonal Sides for Your Holiday Table

Hanukkah Brisket Tamales

Best Wishes for a dazzling and delicious Holiday Season!

11 thoughts on “Hanukkah Brisket Tamales”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.