Sunday, October 17, 2010

My Tamale Recipe

I am re-posting this recipe... I have updated "how to" photos since I made them this weekend. Hope it helps make this recipe a little more understandable.
I love Tamales. It's funny I had never eaten them before until I married Jim. His mom's side of the family is Mexican and made them all the time so Jim grew up with them. Jim's mother showed me how to make them one weekend when we went to visit, and now I love to make them once in a while. I double this masa dough recipe when I make them and usually get about 25 to 30 tamales which is about right. We eat some and I share some with my mom and dad. Yummo!!

Make the meat filling ahead of time.. see below.
Rinse one package of corn husks, and soak for about 1 hour in warm to hot water, while making dough.

Masa dough:
2 cups masa
2 cups lukewarm chicken broth
1 tsp. baking powder
1-2 tsp. ground chile de arbol (hot so be careful) I use 1 tsp. in a double batch-- was out of this so I used 2 tsp. mexican chili powder and touch of cayenne pepper and ground chipotle powder this last time I made tamales--it worked good.
2/3 cup lard (I use crisco)
Combine masa, baking powder, salt, and chili seasoning. Work in broth into the masa mixture with fingers. Beat crisco in the bowl of an electric mixer till fluffy. Add masa mixture a little at a time to crisco and beat with mixer till fluffy and spongy. (test by rolling a small ball and dropping in a cup of water. If it floats the dough is spongy enough).

This is what my dough looks like... kind of looks like cookie dough!!

pork roast or chicken or beef (amount depends on how many tamales you want to make.. I generally use a 3 to 4 pound roast, or  the same amount of Chicken)
1 can enchilada sauce (a large 19 oz. can)
Brown roast and season with salt and pepper and chili powder and whatever else you want to season it with. Put in crock pot and pour enchilada sauce over it. Cook all day (or all night) till meat falls apart. Take meat out of juice and shred with fork, add just enough juice or enchilada sauce to keep it juicy. ( I do this the day before I want to make tamales) I also add chili powder and Salt and pepper to taste. Sometimes I add chipotle powder too for extra zing!

To assemble:
Spread a spoonful or two of masa dough on soaked corn husk, flat edge is the bottom. I spread on one side so dough covers 3/4 of the husk, so you have about 3 inches from the top and 2 inches on the right side without the dough.

Get all the corn husks spread with dough till you run out of dough. The smaller husks are good to leave plain... I use those when wrapping at the end. Put about a Tablespoon or so of meat filling down the middle of the masa dough on the corn husk,

fold the left side over meat to almost the edge of the masa dough on the other side. Fold right side of the husk over that.. and then fold the top down. Flat bottom end is open, so I get a small husk that doesn't have masa on it and fold over that end. Tie with a thin strip of corn husk..

 ( hope this makes sense, it's hard to explain.. you can go to u tube and type in "how to make tamales".. there are a bunch of videos on there.) Once all the tamales are made... I get my big pot and put about 2 inches of water in it and bring to a boil, I add two vegi steamers so that your tamales are up out of the water, I also crinkle up aluminum foil so the tamales don't fall in the water. Double boilers are good if you have a large one. Place tamales in pot. I put 3 down in a triangle shape then add 3 more on topof those on the edges so it's kind of a alternating triangle.
Keep going to top of pan, add a dish cloth to the top to keep the steam in , and cover pot. Turn heat down to medium/low so it's a low simmer,that way it keeps steaming but the water doesn't evaporate too fast. It takes an  hour or so for the tamales to be cook... check to make sure you still have water in the pot once in a while. Keep some water hot in another pan or teapot to add more if needed.
To check if tamales are done... get one out after about an hour and let cool for about 5 minutes. If the masa pulls away from the corn husk they are ready, if not let steam for another half an hour... Top with salsa, or enchilada sauce, and sour cream........ I like to serve mine with Mexican rice and black beans.......Enjoy!


  1. I love your new blog. I can't wait to try the chocolate chocolate chip cookies and the bread and the pizza... oh everything looks so good!

  2. Approximately what size roast and can of enchilada sauce do you use?

  3. I use a 3 to 4 pound roast and a large can of enchilada sauce.