Dukunu recipe – Mayan tamales!

One of the wonderful things (among many) about having an island resort in Belize is discovering the food of Belize. Many years ago I discovered a wonderful Belizean dish: Dukunu. We don’t serve it on the island because it is too labor intensive : ( But at a locals Belize City restaurant, like Ceni’s, you can sometimes find it.

Dukunu is a fabulous dish! And you can make these marvelous corn packets at home using this recipe. Residents of New Mexico will be particularly interested as it is similar to, but also very different from tamales, a staple in New Mexico.

Dukunu is usually vegetarian, which is one of the reasons I love them since I don’t eat meat. It is not made of masa, but of roasted and ground corn kernals. Also, it uses coconut milk. This corn mixture steamed in corn husks was a favorite of the ancient Mayans of Belize.

6-8 ears of corn, shucked
1/8 cup of water
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 T. of melted butter
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 t. sugar
corn husks, soaked in water

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. Soak corn husks in water. Use 1 T. of butter to coat the ears of corn and then wrap each ear in foil. Place wrapped corns on a baking dish and roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes until soft. Slice corn kernels away from the husks. In a blender or food processor blend the roasted corn kernels and water until fully ground. Add coconut milk, 1 T. butter, salt, sugar and baking powder to corn mixture and blend well to combine all ingredients. Put 1 – 2 tbsp corn mixture in each corn husk. Fold the sides of the husks in toward the center and place in a steamer. Steam for 30 minutes.

2 thoughts on “Dukunu recipe – Mayan tamales!

  • July 5, 2018 at 7:19 am

    Are you missing the inclusion of some masa or corn meal as well? I made these and they didn’t ‘cake’ together like i expected. Can you confirm the recipe? After looking at some others it seems they do include some corn flour product in the mix so wanted to check.

    • October 17, 2018 at 10:26 am

      Holly, I am sorry it took me so long to see your comment. I contacted my Belizean cook and she said she never uses anything but fresh corn, ground. One of our Belizean guides is here visiting and I just asked his wife, a Mayan woman from Succotz Village. I asked her to look at the recipe. She said that she make dukunu all of the time, but only uses 1/2 cup coconut milk to 6 ears of corn, shucked and ground, plus salt. Nothing else but the corn husks, no water, no butter, no baking powder. Her husband explained to me that they use a manual grinder, like an old-fashioned meat grinder or coffee grinder you turn with a crank. Thanks for your comment! I hope this helps. Lucy

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