This simple corundas recipe comes together with just five ingredients, creating a tender, flavorful, and delicious snack. Try yours covered in spicy salsa roja, creamy cashew crema, and crumbled queso fresco.
Table of Contents
Corundas are a pre-Hispanic creation that emerged from the state of Michoacán. They are a unique type of tamal characterized by their triangular shape.
To make corundas michoacanas, start with the typical ingredients used for other tamales:
- Lard (sometimes)
- Baking powder (sometimes)
Once everything is mixed together, portions of dough are then wrapped in corn leaves (not husks) to form a triangular shape. Corn leaves are more traditional and preferred, but reed or banana leaves may also be used.
Although many recipes don't contain fillings, some are stuffed with cheese, pork, beans, or vegetables. Typically, corundas michoacanas are served warm with red salsa and crema immediately after opening them.
The Purépecha nation is a group of indigenous people from the state of Michoacán, and these triangle creations are credited to them. The name corunda stems from a Purépecha word (kúrhaunda), which means "tamal."
As a whole, tamales are a pre-Hispanic food, indicating they've been around since long before the colonization of what's now known as Mexico.
Although hard to verify, it's said that corundas were served in ceremonies of the Purépecha princes. They've even been referred to as "palace rolls" or "the cake of the prince" — of course, this is just a loose translation.
Nowadays, corundas are not as popular countrywide compared to other tamales. But, they can definitely be found in Michoacán and other neighboring states like Guanajuato, Jalisco, Queretaro, and Colima.
🌱 Is it vegan?
With the addition of ingredients like lard, crema, and queso fresco, corundas are not vegan-friendly. But with a few simple changes, it can be done!
- Lard: Manteca de cerdo (lard) is often used in corundas. You can replace it with vegetable shortening, flavorless coconut oil, or olive oil for a healthier alternative.
- Crema: You'll usually see Mexican crema added on top, but this can be replaced with dairy-free cashew crema.
- Cheese: You can easily make a vegan queso fresco to replace the dairy-based cheese found on top of corundas.
🍲 Ingredients & substitutions
For complete ingredient measurements and instructions, see our recipe card.
- Masa harina: This corn-based flour makes up the bulk of corundas. There is a special kind of masa harina made for antojitos like these, which creates a nice texture. If you can find it, we think it's worth it!
- Baking powder: To make the corundas nice and fluffy rather than firm and dense.
- Vegetable shortening: Although not necessary, adding fat to tamales creates a rich flavor and texture. Flavorless coconut oil or vegan butter both work as a replacement. And for a healthier alternative, use olive oil or omit the fat altogether (you will need more water though).
- Salt: Used to enhance the other flavors.
- Water: Liquid turns masa harina (flour) into masa (dough). Use warm water for best results.
Step 1: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the masa harina and salt. Pour in the warm water and knead to form masa (it should be like the consistency of play-dough). Set aside.
Step 2: Using your hands or an electric mixer, whip the softened vegetable shortening or coconut oil for a few minutes until light and fluffy. Add in the baking powder and mix until combined, about 30 seconds longer.
Step 3: Add the masa (dough), and mix everything with your hands until it's well incorporated.
Step 4: Cut the banana leaves into strips 2-3 inches wide and 18-20 inches long. Holding one end, twist the strip into a cone shape and keep it together in the palm of your hand.
Step 5: Scoop approximately 2-3 tablespoons of dough into the cone and pack it into the pointed part. Fold the long part of the leaf over top to cover the dough.
Step 6: Continue folding the leaf over the dough to form a triangle shape. Stick the last flap of the leaf to itself with a smear of masa, then transfer the corunda to a plate or clean surface while you make the rest.
Step 7: Add about 3-4 cups of water to the bottom of a large stockpot. Place a steamer rack inside and cover it with a layer of the damaged or leftover leaves. Lean the corundas around the steamer until the pot is full.
Step 8: Cover the corundas with a top layer of leaves and a tea towel on top. Put the lid on your pot, bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and steam for 70 minutes.
Step 10: When they're finished, remove the corundas from the pot and let them rest for 10 minutes to allow the dough to firm up. Serve warm with salsa, vegan crema, and vegan queso fresco on top. Happy eating!
🥗 Serving suggestions
While corundas michoacanas are delicious on their own, try them with the following toppings or meals:
- Salsa roja or salsa verde: Often served alongside corundas.
- Crema: Used to balance out the spicy salsa.
- Cactus salad: A fresh salad made with tangy nopales (cactus), tomatoes, and other vegetables.
- Lentejas: Hearty Mexican soup made filled with fresh vegetables and fiber-rich lentils.
- Calabacitas: Summer squash mixed with fresh corn, spicy peppers, juicy tomatoes, and vegan cheese.
- Refried beans: Creamy and protein-packed beans that are filled with vitamins and nutrients.
Corundas michoacanas are naturally packaged and great for snacks on the go. Follow these storage tips to keep them fresh for longer.
- Fridge: As long as corundas are stored in airtight containers, they will last up to a week in the fridge.
- Freezer: Once completely cool, freeze your corundas for up to 3 months in a freezer-safe bag with the leaves still on.
- Reheat: Re-steam them for about 10-15 minutes or a little longer if they're frozen. Or, bake them at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes. You can either bake the corundas directly on a pan or wrapped in foil.
- Masa harina: Test out different masa harina varieties like blue or yellow. For a hearty texture and flavor, we recommend masa harina for tamales.
- Banana leaves: To impart different flavors, use corn leaves, reed leaves, or even parchment paper to wrap your corundas.
- Fill them: Try filling the corundas with salsa, beans, or cheese to see what you prefer.
🧑🍳 Top tips
- Don't stress about the shape: If the shape doesn't look exactly like it's pictured, don't worry too much since it won't affect the flavor. Just check that the dough is fully covered with leaf.
- Use baking powder: To avoid dense tamales, make sure you use baking powder.
- Test them while cooking: Remove one corunda and unwrap it around the 70-minute mark. To check if it's done, press on the dough. It should be slightly spongy. If not, wrap it up and continue steaming for another 20 minutes.
- Use a mixer: To make life easier, whip the fat with a hand or stand mixer (unless you want an arm workout).
You can make the dough up to 2-3 days in advance of cooking. Just make sure to store it in the fridge. You can also pre-make the whole recipe (including wrapping) and freeze the uncooked corundas for up to 5-6 months.
Corundas originated in Michoacán. More specifically, the people of the Purépecha nation are credited with their invention.
You can eat corundas with your hands or with a fork and knife.
- Mixing bowls
- Hand or stand mixer
- Kitchen shears
- Large stockpot with a steamer basket
- 3 cups masa harina ($0.38)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder ($0.01)
- ¾ teaspoon salt ($0.01)
- 2 ¼ cups very warm water ($0.01)
- ⅔ cup vegetable shortening or flavorless coconut oil ($0.04)
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the masa harina and salt. Pour in the warm water and knead to form masa (it should be like the consistency of play-dough). Set aside.
- Using your hands or an electric mixer, whip the softened vegetable shortening or coconut oil until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the baking powder and mix until combined, about 30 seconds.
- Add the masa (dough), and mix with your hands until well incorporated, about 3-4 minutes.
- Cut the banana leaves into strips 2-3 inches wide and 18-20 inches long. Holding one end, twist the strip into a cone shape and keep it together in the palm of your hand.
- Scoop approximately 2-3 tablespoons of dough into the cone and pack it into the pointed part. Fold the long portion of the leaf over top to cover the dough.
- Continue folding the leaf over the dough to form a triangle shape. Stick the last flap of the leaf to itself with a smear of masa, then transfer the corunda to a plate or clean surface while you make the rest.
- Add about 3-4 cups of water to the bottom of a large stockpot. Place a steamer rack inside and cover it with a layer of the damaged or leftover leaves. Lean the corundas around the steamer until the pot is full.
- Cover the corundas with a top layer of leaves and a tea towel. Put the lid on your pot, bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and steam for 70 minutes.
- To check if they are fully cooked, remove 1 corunda at 70 minutes. Let it rest for a few seconds, then unwrap the leaf. If the center is spongy, they are ready. If the dough is still sticky and soft, re-wrap the corunda and continue steaming for an additional 20 minutes.
- When the corundas are finished, remove them from the pot and let them rest for 10 minutes to allow the dough to firm up. Serve warm with salsa, vegan crema, and vegan queso fresco on top. Happy eating!
- For a more flavorful masa, add 1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon "No Chicken" base or vegetable bouillon when mixing.
- Make sure to keep a close eye on the water level of your pot during steaming to prevent burning the bottom.
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
- We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
- All prices are in USD.
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