Homesick Texan Making Tamales...
Not really a restaurant question, but wanted to go to the Lone Star source.
After years of tamales that don't satisfy (mailed from the Valley, bought in Atlanta) I'm trying making my own. Have three questions you folks might be able to help with:
1. Fresh masa (purchased) isn't an option. Other sources say MaSeCA, which I'd planned to use, is no good. Any thoughts?
2. Some recipes say steam first then freeze, some say freeze, then thaw and steam. This batch will be made now then served Christmas Eve (3 weeks away). Which to do?
3. Lard's not an option either. Some recipes use vegetable shortening instead, some use corn oil? Which will have better results?
I'm clearly new here. Thanks for your help!
My aunt always froze them , and would steam them frozen. (No thawing needed.) I think this helps to prevent ice crystals from forming, which will make them mushy if you thaw them or if you try to freeze them after steaming. The only downside to this, is that if you want tamales, you still have to wait 30+ minutes for them. But the quality is much better.
Also, she used crisco as a substitute for lard when she needed to, and the tamales still came out great. I think that the shortening will give you a sturdier masa when making the tamales.
My fave masa dough recipe is from the Tamales cookbook by Sedler, Miller and Pyles. There are many in the book, but the best one for me has been Mark Miller's Roasted Corn Tamale Masa Dough.
1 1/2 C Masa Harina
1 t Salt
1 t Bk Powder
1/4 C Unsalted Butter - soft
1/4 C Veg Shortening
3/4 C Warm Water
1 C Roast Corn - you can omit this, I guess
And personally, I would steam then freeze.
Fort Worth has a place that can ship some tamales Hot Damn Tamales (link will follow below). Also La Popular in Dallas is a popular place here and you can aske them if they can ship you some of their fresh masa (link will follow). Also Luna's Tortilla Factory I know has masa available. You can ask them if they can ship it all and you can probably ask the two latter for cooking tips, if you ask nicely. Tell them your plight and I am sure they are willing to help. I do know that La Popular only sells their masa in 5 lb bags so I hope you will be making a few! You might try any of these place to ask some recipe tips and tricks on making your tamales. As for masa I know there are place in your area that sell grits and the like and fine corn meal you might want to try these places for a more suitable masa mixture once you know your recipe. I have included some places that sell corn products in your area (or close).
Luna's did have a website but they have been moved out of their historic location close to downtown to make way for the development around the new Stars and Mavericks area (AAC). I can't find a phone number just yet, but I will go down for lunch that way and see if I can get you one
http://www.hottamaleez.com/ This place has been in the DFW metroplex for years and I know they aren't busy in Lewisville....might chat with them for a while.
Hope this helps