Tips for Sauteing

Here is a quick and delicious filling recipe that you can use to fill tamales. What I love about this recipe besides it’s simplicity is the combination of great textures and flavors. The corn is crisp and sweet, the charred poblanos are spicy and smoky and the cheese being melty and creamy, brings it all together. Before diving into the recipe let’s just go over some basic tips on the main technique feature in this recipe.

Sauteing refers to a technique in where ingredients are chopped evenly and quickly fried in a little bit of oil. Here is a few steps that will help you sautee like a pro:

  1. Make sure you use the right oil,  this means an oil that won’t burn at the high temperatures your skillet will reach, the best oils for sauteing are vegetable, canola, peanut, and grape seed, and the oils to avoid for sauteing are the flavorful ones, such as sesame oil, or a high quality extra virgin olive oil those are great as finishing oils, to add flavor to vinaigrettes, or other dishes, however they burn at a lower temperature so they are not great for sauteing, they can also be overpowering in flavors, use a neutral oil that has a high smoking point, in most of my recipes I use either canola or vegetable oil.
  2. Your ingredients should be chopped evenly, you don’t have to be a ninja when it comes to knife skills but try to keep your onion pieces the same size, for even cooking.
  3. Your skillet should be hot! it doesn’t matter if you are in a hurry, don’t add your ingredients to a cold skillet with cold oil, your veggies will just sit there all sad, they will sweat and become watery, and mushy, you want to hear a nice sizzle when adding anything to that pan.



Yield: Enough filling for a dozen tamales

  • 1 1/2 cups of corn
  • 2 large poblano peppers
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cup of your favorite Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 tbsp of dry oregano
  • 1 tbsp of chipotle powder (you can omit or adjust)
  • salt and pepper to taste


Char the poblano peppers over an open flame, as soon as the skin turns black they are done, place them in a bowl and cover them with plastic, and let them sit for five minutes, the steam will help the skin come off easily, using a paper towel remove the charred skin, remove the seeds and core and dice the poblano peppers.

Heat up about 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a skillet, and sauté the onions until translucent, (about 5 minutes)  add the poblanos and the corn and mix well, cook for another 3 minutes, add the chipotle powder and dry oregano, don’t forget to season with salt and pepper.

Remove the skillet from the heat and place this filling into a bowl, let the mixture cool completely then fold in the cheese. Use as a filling for tamales, this also makes a great egg frittata in the morning topped with some salsa and avocados, I love using the leftovers to make quesadillas too! Enjoy!

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