Now, about this recipe, folks… I figure if you’re loose enough to be a Religious Experience fan, then you’re loose enough to cook the way I cook… This is not paint-by-numbers, this is not your average high school band attempting to play Purple Haze… This is Picasso, this Jimi, this is a free-form jam session and if you can’t stand the heeeeeeeeeat, get out of the kitchen. I will guide you through, and these will come out great! First, let’s deal with some “terms”: ABOUT — Approximately Almost, Around, More or Less, Close to, Nearly… FUN — Have Fun! Experiment! Take Chances! If you screw up, well, it won’t be the first or last time, eh? And when it comes out great, hey, you did it!


  • 2 whole chickens
  • 5-lb bag of masa harina de maise (corn flour, NOT corn meal)
  • 3 big yellow onions
  • 1 bag dry corn husks (carried by most supermarkets in the western U.S.)
  • 2 jars Religious Experience Salsa
    • Original is probably the best choice for cooking, and for those who like it HOT, have a jar of The Wrath on the table.
  • 1 Tbs. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chili powder
  • 2 Tbs. honey


  • Bring the chickens, ground cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to a boil in a large pot and let simmer for an hour and a half.
  • Drain off the stock and save.
  • Bone the chickens, tearing the larger pieces into 1/4″ wide strips (this can be done the day before).
  • Place the corn husks in a sink of hot water and submerge them by placing a plate or something heavy on top. Let them soak for at least 30 minutes.
  • Peel the onions and cut them into 1/4″ wedges. Saute the onions in 3-4 Tbs. of oil until they are yellow (not brown).
  • Add the chicken strips, chili powder, honey, and about 1 cup R.E. “Original”.
  • Heat, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes.
  • Set aside to cool.
  • Now, put about half a bag of masa in a large bowl with 2 tsp. salt. Mix the dry ingredients and slowly add the chicken stock until the masa is of a consistency thick pancake batter (so that it will still run from the spoon).
  • Place the masa in the center of a corn husk and spread it out evenly (use your judgement!). After the masa is spread, place lengthwise in the lower third of the masa about 3-4 Tbs. of the chicken mixture. Roll the corn husk and masa over the chicken tightly, and fold the small tapered end of the husk under. Stack on a steamer rack in a large pot, folded side down. Close is good enough — remember, real tamales are not tidy little clones!
  • Continue the process until you have used all of the chicken mixutre. You may have to mix more masa.

Makes 2-2 dozen tamales.

Steam the tamales for about an hour on fairly high heat, and remember to keep adding water as needed. Cool about 10 minutes before serving.