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Dec 14, 2006 11:51 PM

Tamale-Making Tutorials w/ photos. Get out your steamers and get started. Mi masa su masa.

In an effort to recoup some personal dignity after my first abysmal tamale making experience, I looked for some pics and techniques on the web. Amidst them, may we all find success. Refined descriptions of technique and successes would be appreciated.
(has popups, but excellent

interesting use of a spreading tool (hmmm...where's my 3" putty knife?...

ctrl f for tamales downpage.

Finally: 2 cookbooks.

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  1. I'll vouch for the Son of the South website. I followed the instructions for making the masa, and my tamales turned out pretty fine the first time around, if I do say so myself.

    I didn't follow the recipe for the filling because I had my own plans for a filling, but the version on the website sure does sound good.

    1. I made tamales last year for the first time. I used the Son of the South directions and I thought they turned out very nice. The curious thing for me is this: If you look at the pictures, the meat is way more saucier for lack of a better word. I was behind a lady at costco the other day and she was buying those same dried chiles, telling the clerk she was going to use it to make the "mole" for her tamales. Made me think that mine don't have any mole. Does mole mean sauce? Can someone weigh in on this? Son of the South maybe combined with the other? I cooked mine in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes. The other site covers theirs in water and boils them. I'd never heard of that before. I'm anxious to see what tamale making veterans have to say. Does Son of the South lack seriously needed mole?

      2 Replies
      1. re: mrsmegawatt

        don't konw anything about the son of the south thing, but many tamales use different types of mole as sauces in tamales. my favorite oaxaquenos, for example, use mole negro. Man, those are good. Others use mole verde or whatever. But most often, it's a much simpler sauce, like a salsa verde or another sauce made from dried chiles.

        (The distinction between moles and salsas can sometimes get murky, but there definitely are differences).

        1. re: mrsmegawatt

          I just found this site. Was wondering if anyone else has used a pressure cooker to steam tamales. I've used my pressure cooker for years and years and always happy with the results. Tips: Make sure the uncooked tamales do not lay in the water in the cooker. Use a spacer or the things that comes with the pressure cooker. Add only enough water to not be avoid spacer. Layer the tamales leaving about 2 or 3 inches from the top. Put on the cooker top and pressure thing and turn on high heat. Once the pressure things starts to jiggle, turn heat down and keep cooking for about 10 minutes.
          Then with lid and pressure thing still on, run cold water to release steam. Then open and take them out. Hmmmm. Then add a bit more water and more raw tamales. I see no difference than using my steamer other than taking much less time. Try it, you'll like it.

        2. I used the Son of the South instructions last summer to make a 32 quart steamer full of 6-7 dozen tamales for a family reunion. I found his instructions very helful, but I tinkered with the recipe after looking at some other Mexican recipes. Because it was a special event, I used lard, which made a significant difference on the authenticity of the masa -- and I'd rather have the cholesterol than trans fats from shortening. My meats, as a nod to family tradition, included 2 rabbits, a hen, and a large pork loin. The stress on having lots of broth couldn't be more true. We had a world of fun assembling the tamales -- it's a great group activity. But in terms of salsas and moles, I'd save them to add after the steaming. Bottom line, the tamales were delicious and I'll be making them again.

          1. The original comment has been removed
            1. I hosted a tamale party late last year. Four couples in one huge kitchen and everyone bringing the filling of their choice. I was the only one with any experience (not very much, but some) at making tamales. We had a great time.
              The only thing I do differently than the method described at is that, when I roll the tamale, I strip off lengths of some of the "culled" shucks and use them to tie the folded end up. It makes for a better appearance when plating and gives me an opportunity to practice that little square knot we all learned in scout camp.

              2 Replies
              1. re: todao

                I discovered the Sonofthesouth recipe site several years ago and have made tamales from their recipe several times. They are really good and disappear fast.