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I'd like to have a go at making tamales, but the corn husk wrappers are hard to come by here. Is there anything I can use as a substitute wrapper?

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I guess it's also hard to get fresh corn? It's just about the right time of year for that, depending where you are. – Jefromi May 3 '12 at 16:38
Not hard, but most fresh corn is usually trimmed and portioned so I can't get the husks from them. – ElendilTheTall May 3 '12 at 17:22
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I've had the same problem once. The first substitute is banana leaves. But they're not easy to find either.

The second one is using big leaves of chard. Tamales will be done in the same time and you could eat the leaf if you want. I've tried it once and it came out great.

Here it's a recipe for tamales from Michoacan made with chard. Here it is a graphic step by step recipe for tamales with chard. They are written in Spanish, let me know if you need a translator ;)

PS. My mexican mother in law used to do it with chard.

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Banana leaves do work well and taste good. They are often obtainable, frozen, at Asian markets as well as Latin ones. – FuzzyChef May 4 '12 at 4:07
Yes, I can get hold of banana leaves. – ElendilTheTall May 25 '12 at 16:10

You could use banana leaves or avocado leaves, though I'm not sure those would be easier to come by. If you can't get a hold of any of those I would try wrapping them in parchment.

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You can also get grape leaves in a jar. Bonus: They're edible. – Chris Cudmore May 3 '12 at 14:56

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