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Sep 8, 2009 05:37 PM

do you make tamales?

Does anyone ever make talmales? I just love good homemade ones. Is it really an all day process? I read recipes and it sounds like it is quite involved.

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  1. I always say that the reason I had five children was to have help making tamales, and I am only half joking! It does take all day, but then I always make over a hundred at Xmas. Maybe it takes me so long because I am a Gringo. It helps if you make the filling the day before, and then just assemble them. Make sure you add plenty of stock, either pork or chicken, to the masa for flavor and creamy texture. I purchase masa preparada, which already is mixed with lard, at a Mexican market, but then thin it down with broth.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mothrpoet

      I make them a few times a year. I usually make 4 dozen at a time. I do the meat the day before, usually on Friday night, and soak the hojas overnight as well. Then, in the am, make the masa, and while it rests/soaks, I'll pull the meat off of the bone, and get it ready for filling (pick out fat/sinew/bone.) Then, it's formation time. I use a pastry spatula to spread the masa, then fold, and roll, and bend the bottom, over and over again. I normally do chicken in a spicy green sauce, and also a cinnamon chocolate masa with milk chocolate chunk filling. Tamales are proof of HIS existence.

      1. re: mothrpoet

        I do not know which post came first, but I am looking for the tamale recipe you have from Sunset Magazine 20 years ago. I finally lost my magazine and want the recipe so bad. Can you post or email.
        Thank you

      2. IMO, the preparation of ingredients takes longer than actually making the tamales. Once the ingredients are ready it doesn't take long for me to make several dozen by myself. I admit that I use a prepared massa. I wrap each tamale, fold up the bottom and tie using a strand of the husk with a square knot.

        1. Take a look at the cookbook "Tamales 101" -- I really like it. I've bought the prepared masa w/out lard and I add butter, instead -- really delicious. I have a very hard time using a strand of the hoja to tie it up so I just use kitchen string, instead.

          A favorite one is with goat cheese, drained marinated artichoke hearts, tomatillo sauce and some strips of roasted poblano chile.

          1. Ordinarily, I prefer to take more time and to cook everything from scratch when I’m making tamales. It just seems more satisfying. Two days ago I made a batch of tamales from grilled chicken breasts, green chile sauce, grilled eggplant and cheese. Yum!

            But ... making tamales doesn’t HAVE to be a lengthy process. Azteca Milling, the makers of Maseca Corn Masa Mix, developed a quick, heart-healthy recipe that yields 25 small to medium size tamales in 60 minutes by using some short cuts. The recipe uses already cooked rotisserie chickens, canned chicken broth and canned green chile sauce. Corn or canola oil was used instead of lard. The tamales made from this recipe were good enough to win first place for the "Best Commercial Gourmet Tamale" category at the Indio International Tamale Festival back in 2000. And from my own tasting, they were very good in both taste and texture.

            Here is a link to the recipe:

            1. A neat trick (one I'll credit Mark Miller with) to making the maseca dry masa powder more corn-flavored is to simmer some corn kernels in milk, then whip up the corn and milk in a blender to add to the base masa dough. It's just a bit more trouble added to the whole process, but well worth it.