My visit with D in L.A. inspired me to cook some food from south of the border. Tamales are really not that hard to cook. However, they are a little time consuming and PLEASE follow the instructions for the dough closely. With trial and error, I figured it out and so will you.
First, the tamale dough. Second, the filling of your choice. Oh, and don’t forget, the cooking. That takes a LONG time. I don’t have a steamer so I used a broiler pot with a fitted strainer that I typically use for steaming veggies. The tamales took about 1.5 hours to steam cook! Now I understand why people have tamale making parties 1 day ahead of time. Lesson learned.
2 cups Masa Farina ( I used Maseca Tamale flour available at Mexican grocery stores)
2 cups lukewarm water or broth (very important)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup lard or vegetable shortening (um, you can guess what I used!)
20 corn husks (for wrapping & lining the pan)
Who am I to tell you how to fill them? This is where you can truly start thinking like a chef! I used queso (Mexican cheese) and two different types of peppers– poblano (featured above and are bigger and mild peppers) & jalepeno (the smaller green peppers, which have a kick).
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, work the broth or water in with your fingers to make a soft moist dough. In a small bowl, beat the shortening until fluffy. Add masa flour and beat until the dough is spongy.
Place 2-3 tablespoons of dough on your softened husk. Put about a tablespoon of the filling of your choice on top. Wrap it up like you would a burrito or new born baby. Using kitchen twine, make sure both ends are sealed.
Have a steamy pan ready to go (with water boiling underneath). Be sure to have enough water to keep the pan boiling for about 1.5 hours. Line the steamer pan with a few wet husks. Place the wrapped and ready tamales side by side in the pan. Try not to overcrowd those bad boys. Place the lid on top and steam for approximately 1.5 hours. Be sure to check them out before removing them. This means you’ll have to partially unwrap one of the tamales to make sure the dough is fully cooked.
Enjoy! K and I ate ours with homemade guacamole and pinto beans, which I cooked in veggie broth with bay leaves.