What Are Corundas? Exploring this Delicious Mexican Specialty

Corundas: The Authentic Taste of Michoacán Cuisine

Originating from the state of Michoacán, Corundas are traditional Mexican tamales that distinctly stand out with their unique triangular shape. In this region, people often serve them with a rich sauce or stew, thereby making them a staple in the local cuisine and a reflection of its deep-rooted traditions.

Firstly, if you’re curious about the various cooking techniques in Mexican cuisine, you might want to dive into the concept of a rolling boil. Interestingly, chefs use this method frequently to prepare a range of dishes, including corundas.

Additionally, another dish that highlights the diversity of Mexican cuisine is sopa de mariscos. This flavorful seafood soup not only offers a burst of flavors but also pairs perfectly with corundas, especially if you aim to serve a full-course Mexican meal.

Furthermore, for dessert lovers, after savoring the savory taste of corundas, consider trying the lobster tail pastry. This sweet treat will undoubtedly balance out the rich and hearty flavors of Michoacán cuisine.

Corundas: A Journey Through Mexico’s Culinary Past

Mexican cuisine, with its vast array of dishes, paints a vibrant picture of the nation’s history. Among these dishes, corundas hold a special place. When you delve into the history of corundas, you essentially embark on a culinary journey. Remarkably, this journey not only tantalizes the taste buds but also transports you to ancient civilizations, shedding light on their gastronomic legacies.

Originating from the indigenous communities of the Michoacán region in Mexico, corundas have a rich past. Although the mysteries of their exact origin persist, many culinary historians believe that locals have cherished these delicacies for centuries, and possibly even millennia. Interestingly, the term “corunda” stems from the Purépecha word “k’urhúndua.” This connection underscores the dish’s deep ties to the indigenous Purépecha people of Michoacán.

Historically speaking, people didn’t view corundas merely as everyday food. Instead, they occupied a revered ceremonial space. Communities frequently prepared them for significant events, festivals, and religious ceremonies. In doing so, they symbolized unity, heritage, and nature’s bounty. Moreover, the green corn leaves used for wrapping, coupled with their triangular shape, likely bore spiritual significance. Some culinary experts suggest they might represent life’s three stages or even the Holy Trinity in Christian contexts.

As time progressed and trade routes expanded, corundas began to evolve. Consequently, chefs experimented with new ingredients and modified preparation methods. This evolution birthed the diverse range of corundas we savor today. However, despite these changes, the dish’s core essence has remained steadfast, a testament to its timeless appeal.

Today, corundas stand tall as a beacon of Michoacán’s culinary heritage. They’ve gracefully navigated through time, seamlessly merging the flavors, traditions, and tales of ancient Mexico into our contemporary dining experiences. Each bite serves as a poignant reminder of the intricate tapestry of cultural influences that have shaped this delightful treat.

Ingredients Used in Corundas

Corundas, like many traditional dishes, have a base recipe that can be modified according to regional preferences or individual tastes. However, there are certain key ingredients that remain consistent in most variations of this beloved Mexican delicacy. Here’s a breakdown of the primary components and some popular variations:

  • Masa (Corn Dough):

The foundation of corundas, masa is a dough made from nixtamalized corn. Nixtamalization is a process where corn is soaked and cooked in an alkaline solution, usually limewater, and then hulled. This process gives the masa its distinctive flavor and texture.

  • Corn Leaves:

Specifically, green corn leaves serve as the wrapping for corundas. They not only hold the dough in place during the steaming process but also impart a subtle flavor to the dish. Before use, these leaves are typically soaked in water to make them pliable.

  • Fillings: While some corundas are enjoyed plain, many have fillings that add depth and complexity to the dish. Common fillings include:
    • Chili Sauces: Red or green chili sauces, often made from chilies like guajillo or serrano, add a spicy kick.
    • Meats: Shredded chicken or pork, usually stewed in a flavorful sauce, are popular choices.
    • Cheese: Varieties like queso fresco or cotija can be used, either alone or in combination with other fillings.
    • Beans: Refried beans or whole beans, seasoned and cooked, can also serve as a hearty filling.
  • Salt and Seasonings:

To enhance the flavor of the masa and fillings.

  • Water or Broth: Used to achieve the right consistency for the masa, ensuring it’s neither too dry nor too wet.

Variations: Depending on the region in Mexico, you might find corundas with unique ingredients or preparation methods. For instance, some regions might incorporate local herbs, spices, or even seafood into the mix. This adaptability and openness to innovation ensure that corundas remain a dynamic and ever-evolving dish, with something to offer for every palate.

The Making Process of Corundas

Creating corundas is a delightful blend of tradition, technique, and taste. While the process might seem intricate at first, it’s a rewarding culinary experience that results in a dish steeped in history and flavor. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the making process:

  1. Preparing the Masa:

    • Begin by mixing the masa harina (corn flour) with water or broth. The goal is to achieve a dough-like consistency that’s smooth and pliable.
    • Season the masa with salt and any other desired seasonings, ensuring it’s well-incorporated.
  2. Soaking the Corn Leaves:

    • Submerge the green corn leaves in warm water for about 30 minutes. This makes them flexible and easier to work with.
    • After soaking, pat them dry with a towel.
  3. Filling Preparation (if using):

    • Prepare your chosen fillings, whether it’s a chili sauce, meat stew, beans, or cheese. Ensure the fillings aren’t too watery to prevent sogginess.
  4. Shaping the Corundas:

    • Take a portion of the masa and flatten it on a corn leaf, leaving some space around the edges.
    • Add a spoonful of your chosen filling in the center.
    • Fold the corn leaf, typically into a triangular shape, ensuring the masa completely encases the filling. The shape can vary based on personal or regional preferences.
  5. Steaming:

    • Arrange the wrapped corundas in a steamer, ensuring they’re standing upright.
    • Pour in enough water for steaming, but ensure the water doesn’t touch the corundas.
    • Cover and steam for about 1-2 hours. The exact time can vary based on the size and filling of the corundas. They’re done when the masa becomes firm and fully cooked.
  6. Serving:

    • Once cooked, carefully remove the corundas from the steamer and let them cool slightly.
    • While you can eat the corn leaves, most people peel them away and discard them, savoring the soft, flavorful masa and fillings inside.


  • Ensure the masa isn’t too dry or too wet. It should hold its shape without cracking.
  • While steaming, it’s essential to keep the water level in check. You might need to add more water as it evaporates.
  • Corundas pair beautifully with various salsas, creams, or even a side of rice and beans.

Corundas vs. Tamales

Both corundas and tamales are iconic dishes in Mexican cuisine, and while they share some similarities, they also have distinct differences that set them apart. Here’s a comparative look at these two culinary delights:

  1. Origin and Regional Popularity:

    • Corundas: Primarily associated with the Michoacán region of Mexico. They have a deep connection with the indigenous Purépecha people of this area.
    • Tamales: Tamales have a broader origin, with variations found throughout Mexico and other parts of Latin America.
  2. Shape and Presentation:

    • Corundas: Typically triangular, though some variations can be round. They are smaller and more compact.
    • Tamales: Generally have a cylindrical or rectangular shape, wrapped and presented in a more elongated form.
  3. Wrapping:

    • Corundas: Wrapped in green corn leaves, which give them a distinct flavor.
    • Tamales: More commonly wrapped in dried corn husks, though in some regions, banana leaves are used.
  4. Dough Consistency:

    • Corundas: The masa (corn dough) used is often softer and slightly moister.
    • Tamales: The masa is generally firmer, providing a denser texture.
  5. Fillings:

    • Corundas: While they can be filled with meats, sauces, or cheeses, many traditional corundas are enjoyed plain, allowing the masa’s flavor to shine.
    • Tamales: Known for their diverse fillings, ranging from meats, cheeses, chilies, fruits, and even sweet fillings like chocolate or pineapple.
  6. Cultural and Ceremonial Significance:

    • Corundas: Often associated with specific regional ceremonies and traditions, especially within the Michoacán region.
    • Tamales: Given their widespread popularity, tamales feature in various festivals, celebrations, and family gatherings across Mexico and other Latin American countries.
  7. Taste and Texture:

    • Corundas: The green corn leaves impart a subtle, distinct flavor to the masa, resulting in a unique taste profile.
    • Tamales: The taste can vary widely based on the fillings and the type of leaf used for wrapping, offering a broader range of flavors.

Elevate Your Corundas Experience with These Serving Suggestions

Corundas, steeped in rich history and versatile in nature, can effortlessly become the centerpiece of any meal. Whether you’re presenting them as the main attraction, a complementary side, or even a starter, here are some suggestions to truly make them shine:

  1. Salsas and Sauces:

    • Firstly, consider the classic Red or Green Salsa. This choice can introduce a spicy kick, perfectly balancing the mild flavor of the masa.
    • Alternatively, a Creamy Avocado Sauce, blending ripe avocados, cilantro, lime juice, and a hint of garlic, offers a contrasting creamy texture.
  2. Creams and Cheeses:

    • For a richer experience, drizzle or dollop Crema Mexicana on top.
    • On the other hand, Queso Fresco can be crumbled over the corundas, adding a salty touch.
    • Similarly, Cotija Cheese provides a sharp, tangy flavor when sprinkled on top.
  3. Proteins:

    • For meat lovers, serving corundas alongside grilled chicken, beef, or pork is ideal. The charred flavors of the meat harmonize with the soft texture of the corundas.
    • Conversely, for a vegetarian option, Refried Beans add both protein and a hearty texture.
  4. Vegetables and Salads:

    • To add freshness, consider Pico de Gallo, a vibrant mix of tomato, onion, and cilantro.
    • Additionally, grilled vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, and onions can serve as a delightful side.
  5. Rice Dishes:

    • For a traditional touch, opt for Mexican Red Rice, a flavorful concoction of tomatoes, onions, and garlic.
    • In contrast, Cilantro Lime Rice brings a zesty and aromatic flair to the table.
  6. Beverages:

    • To quench your thirst, Horchata, a creamy rice-based drink with a hint of cinnamon, pairs wonderfully.
    • Or, you might prefer Agua Fresca, refreshing fruit-infused waters like watermelon or pineapple.
  7. For Breakfast:

    • If you’re an early riser, corundas with scrambled eggs, chorizo, and a sprinkle of cheese make for a hearty start.
  8. Dressings and Garnishes:

    • Lastly, don’t forget the finishing touches. Lime wedges, fresh cilantro, and pickled red onions can elevate the dish, adding layers of flavor and texture.


What are corundas made of?

Masa, a special dough derived from nixtamalized corn, forms the base of corundas. Seasonings and fillings like chili sauces, meats, or cheeses can enhance this masa. After seasoning, the dough gets its shape, wrapped in green corn leaves, and then steamed to achieve a firm, cooked consistency.

Why are corundas special?

Corundas stand out in Mexican cuisine because of their deep cultural and historical ties, especially to the Michoacán region. Their unique triangular shape and the choice of green corn leaves for wrapping set them apart. Historically, people didn’t consume corundas as just an everyday meal; they played a role in ceremonies, symbolizing unity, heritage, and the bounty of nature. Their versatility, whether filled with various ingredients or enjoyed plain, adds to their culinary appeal.

What’s the difference between tamales and corundas?

Both tamales and corundas use masa as their base, but they differ in several ways. Tamales often take on a cylindrical or rectangular shape and get their wrap from dried corn husks or sometimes banana leaves. They offer a wide range of fillings and have fans across Mexico and other parts of Latin America. Corundas, however, have a triangular shape and use green corn leaves for wrapping, which gives them a unique flavor and texture. They have a strong association with the Michoacán region and typically have a softer texture than tamales.

Where can you find corundas?

The Michoacán region of Mexico is the birthplace of corundas. They share a deep bond with the indigenous Purépecha people of Michoacán. As time has passed, their reach has expanded, and you can now find them in various parts of Mexico and wherever people appreciate Mexican cuisine.

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