Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Sep 27, 2007 01:37 PM

How to make the perfect tamale

I don't know how. I have a basic recipe, but wondering if anyone has any tips??

I am hosting a tamale making party in a month.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Melly, I really like the tamales at Tamara's. They have a recipe on their website and I am sure they'd be happy to answer any questions you may have. Here's their basic recipe, including contact info:

    6 Replies
    1. re: sweetTooth

      Hello! I've been making tamales every holiday forever. I make small ones , because i noticed that people like to try diffrent flavors and fillings. So this way they can eat more than one and not be too full. Plus it's great as an appetizer. If you can , make the chile sauce from scratch. I used New Mexican red chile. I find that the ones from the can has a bitter taste. But then it could just be me. This year i'm planning to used blue corn masa. Can't wait!

      1. re: ceciliar

        I hear there is a secret to making good making good pasta dough. How can you tell if it is good? The feel of it or what?

        1. re: melly

          Masa recipe i use: 5 lbs. fresh masa, 5 tsp. baking powder, 1 3/4 cup canola oil and 2 tbsp. salt. I whip it up in my kitchenaid. I usually steam a little ball to see if it's light enough. If not i just whip it again. Sometimes i need to adjust the recipe, but only a little.

        1. re: melly

          Melly- I have a web-site for your information on tamales. Go to WWW.About.Com
          and it trains people on different things and tamales is one of the million things it
          trains people on. just for your info and maybe you can pick up some tips.I have made tamales before and one tip I can let you know is. get all kinds of help, because when you have a group you have alot more fun.

        2. re: sweetTooth

          I love this cookbood!! But, I don't use lard, I use all unsalted butter, instead and they are really delicious. I do one with goat cheese, tomatillo sauce, fresh roasted poplano chile, marinated artichoke hearts. Delish.

        3. Tips:

          1. Use stock and oil for the masa, not just oil.
          2. Make the sauces, dont' buy.
          3. Blanch the corn husks in boiling water.
          4. Make sure your fillings are not too bulky.

          1. for me, the masa is what makes the tamale. It should be moist and light with deep flavor.

            Aside from what you've seen above... you need lard. Real lard, not the white hydrogenated lard you often see in supermarkets. The flavor and texture of lard just can't be replicated any other way.

            1 Reply
            1. re: adamclyde

              Yes, lard. And the masa needs to be stirred up with your hands and arms in a big scooping motion so it gets nice and fluffy.

            2. I used the recipe and detailed instructions on the following website to make delicious tamales:


              4 Replies
              1. re: Antilope

                I make tamales with butter and wrap them in banana leaves. It's much easier than the corn husks and they are really good. I use masa harina and stock with the butter.It's a recipe out of "The Authentic Cafe" cookbook.

                1. re: Doreen

                  Thanks for ALL of these wonderful tips..and websites.

                2. re: Antilope

                  I've tried that recipe a couple of times and it is absolutely horrible. Dry meat and way too many spices in the masa. Not only that, the author thinks she's Gods gift to tamales lol...

                  1. re: Antilope

                    I've made this recipe a number of times and it always comes out great. Family and friends always ask when I'm going to make tamales again.

                  2. Melly since its your first time... do your self a favor and run out to get one of Dianna Kennedy's books (I think she has one on masa based products exclusively).