Connie Kiyu Guerrero Recipe

Tamales "Gisu"

By Connie "Kiyu" Guerrero conchik

Recipe Rating:
 2 Ratings
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Prep Time:
Cook Time:

Connie "Kiyu"'s Story

The tamales gisu is a local dish, and itself is made of corn meal and masa harina (corn flour) but each half is flavored differently. The orange half is colored by achote (annatto) seed extract and flavored with meat such as bacon or chicken. The white half represents the “starch” portion of the tamale and has no distinctive meat-flavor. Unlike Mexican tamales, which are wrapped in corn husks, tamales gisu are often presented at the fiesta table wrapped in aluminum foil or banana leaves.


2 Tbsp
achoite seeds (for red coloring)
1/2 lb
bacon (sliced)
1 medium
onions (chopped and divided)
3 clove
garlic (minced & divided)
3-4 small
red hot chili peppers (finely minced)
1 c
white corn meal or grits
1 tsp
1 c
corn starch
2-3 c
chicken broth, made from stewing chicken simmered with garlic and onion in water, with the cooked, finely shredded chicken meat added in
1/2 medium
onions (chopped)
1 clove
garlic (minced)
1 tsp
1-2 c
masa harina
2-3 c
chicken broth, made from stewing chicken simmered with garlic and onion in water, with the cooked, finely shredded chicken meat added in

Directions Step-By-Step

Soak achote seeds in 1 c of water until colour has been extracted, usually overnight. discard the seeds. Sautée the bacon, garlic, and onion until transparent. Add the achote water. Add the chili peppers, salt, black pepper and a cup or two of chicken stock. Bring to a full boil and slowly stir in the cornmeal until a thick paste has been formed, roughly 10 minutes. Dilute cornstarch in 1 to 2 c water. Stir in cornstarch mixture and simmer for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir occasionally.
Sautée the garlic and onion until transparent. add salt and a cup or two of chicken stock. bring to a full boil and slowly stir in the masa harina until a soft paste has been formed. Remove from heat. Cool both mixtures.
Wrap a couple tablespoonfuls of red tamale mixture next to a couple tablespoonfuls of white tamale mixture in a banana leaf or foil. secure well, then steam until cooked. (about 30-45 minutes)

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Other Side Dishes
Regional Style: Mexican
Other Tag: Quick & Easy

  • Comments

  • 1-5 of 16
  • user
    Connie "Kiyu" Guerrero conchik - Aug 25, 2010
    Connie Guerrero [conchik] has shared this recipe with discussion groups:
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    Michelle Antonacci Huniibeekeeper - Aug 26, 2010
    Hi Connie! I just love all of your recipes. I have never had this dish and would like to try it. Can you tell me is it spicy? Where do I get achoite seeds? And I have one more question, what else would you normally serve this with? Thanks! :)
  • user
    Juliann Esquivel Juliann - Aug 26, 2010
    Hi Connie, My tamale making time is comming up. I make about 12/15 dozen around the holidays. I usually start about 3 weekes before Thanks giving. I freeze them after I have cooked them The freeze well and I serve them at the holiday table from Thanksgiving to the New Year. Your yellow tamale is flavored with achoite while ours is flavored with the reconstitued dried ancho/pasilla peppers. In Puerto Rico, they make their pasteles with achoite flavoring from the seeds but they do not use masa like we do. The grate their green bananas, yuca, which is (mandioca root) and malanga which you call (tarro root) these are all grated and seasoned with the achiote flavor and colloring and then they add their sofrito of pork meat and seasonings. They wrap their pasteles in a special paper they have or in the country they make and wrap them in plantain leaves. Truly tamales and pasteles are a labor of love. They are delicious. I am anxious to try your recipe. I have never tasted tamales from Guam or Tamales Gisu. Thanks again for sharing. LOL
  • user
    Connie "Kiyu" Guerrero conchik - Aug 26, 2010
    To Michelle: To answer your question? Yes, the orange tamales is made spicy to your own taste. and the tamales is usually eaten by itself, or is a meal by itself. This is so delicious, if you like tamales.

    To Adriann: Thank you for sharing your tamales cooking techniques. Our culture is very similar in a way and therefore we do have similar cuisines too. Yes, we do make taro root, tapioca, and other food roots into tamales as well. But yes, our ingredients are quite different. I will try to experiment with the others and come up with a new recipe. I will be happy to share all of them to everyone. I am yet to post my all time local favorite, we call "Apigigi" this is a dessert, and people who left the island and relocated somewhere are always wanting to order this in bulk to bring back with them to their families. It is made of a young coconut meat, tapioca, and coconut milk and grilled. It has a unique taste and you can't get enough of it once you start to eat them. So delicious, if you have the taste for coconut and tapioca.
  • user
    Juliann Esquivel Juliann - Aug 26, 2010
    Connie who is Adriann?? Did she send you tamale techniques & recipes. I did not get to see them. Something must be wrong with my computer. I did not get to see her comment.