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Can Tamales Be Steamed in the Pressure Cooker?

I want to make tamales but I don't have a steamer, instead I've steamed them before using a colander set in a large stock pot... I would love to be able to make them in my pressure cooker. My inner chef says yes but thought I'd put the question out there. Has anyone done this before? All suggestions welcomed; thanks and Merry Christmas!

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  1. I have no doubt it's possible but would question whether it's necessary. Do you really think you'll get a superior result in the pressure cooker or are you just counting on a faster cook time?

    4 Replies
    1. re: Den

      Neither; I don't have a steamer which is why I'm considering the pressure cooker

      1. re: Cherylptw

        Couldn't you just use a pot large enough to place a metal colander in and then place a lid on top? The colander doesn't even have to fit entirely in the pot. It's okay if it over hangs a bit. It really doesn’t take much to make an impromptu steamer.

        1. re: KTinNYC

          Furthermore, it's a good idea to line the platform of your steamer with corn husks anyway. The platform definitely does not have to be a perfect fit.

          For the OP, sorry, haven't tried a p-cooker.

          1. re: KTinNYC

            Yes, this is what I have done in the past; just thought I'd ask if anyone has done it and what was the outcome...thanks!

      2. I think I would stick to tradional methods on this, but I would kind of like to find out what happens if you used a pressure cooker. "You go first"

        3 Replies
        1. re: mrbigshotno.1

          I'll let you know...

          1. re: Cherylptw

            I'm a bit late to this thread, but I used to steam them in a commercial restaurant pressure steamer, not a pressure cooker exactly, but similar, and it worked very well. It cut down on steaming time considerably.

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              You're not late; I'm not making these until tomorrow..I've also steamed them in a commercial restaurant steamer ...I'd think the end result would be similar which is why it crossed my mind...I'm going to try it out

        2. I sure it can be done but tamales are very labor intensive and I'm not sure I would risk a method I've not tried before or have specific instructions for. Don't want to find out I ruined a big batch of tamales.

          1. Tamales are supposed to be steamed, not boiled. If you use a pressure cooker and just plop the tamales in the water, you might as well just boil them in a stock pot. Pressure steaming sounds like a good idea, though. You might try that with a regular pressure cooker, but you still will need a rack of some kind to keep the tamales out of the water.

            And if you've never tried boiling tamales, what happens is they get swollen and mushy, bust out of the wrapper, and a lot of flavor leaches out. Yep, I tried it once. My bad.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Zeldog

              I've cooked tamales before; they would be in a colander then into the pressure cooker

              1. re: Cherylptw

                There is really no reason why it wouldn't work. Maybe check Miss Vickie's web page. They have a forum and you can even drop Miss Vickie a question

                http://missvickie.com/index.htm

            2. A couple of people mentioned steaming their tamales in a stockpot with a colander in the bottom. I am curious about the water levels throughout the long cooking time. Is the level likely to fall? If so there would be no way to add more water right?

              2 Replies
              1. re: rainbowbrown

                Usually, water from a tea kettle full of hot water can be added as needed with no problem. The water level can fall, and if you are too late, the tamales will be ruined if they pick up burnt pan smell. This can easily be avoided by using the tamale pot coin trick.

                1. re: gordeaux

                  I place a dime at the bottom of my stock pot. As soon as the rattling of the dime stops, you need to add water. I've never had to add water so I've always heard it rattle. Don't know if it really works!

                  Don't know a thing about pressure cookers, sorry. They scare me....

              2. Yes you can pressure cook tamales. I like to sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the filling of my tamales. So you steam and not boil your tamales, make a 3/4 inch in diameter aluminum foil snake spacer to coil in the bottom of the pressure cooker. Add just enough water to cover the spacer. Put the hole ridden aluminum plate that comes with the pressure cooker over the water and spacer. Stack vertically, one layer, about 90 tamales into the pressure cooker with the open end up. Don't go above 2/3's full. I imagine this keeps the pressure outlet from clogging, so the pressure cooker doesn't explode. Cook at 15 P.S.I for an hour and 15 minutes or until the wrapper peels easily away from the masa. Remove from heat and let cool naturally. You get a little cooking time waiting for the pressure to go away.

                1. I should have posted back before now and almost forgot I posted this until I saw the thread resurfaced. The answer is yes, tamales can be steamed in the pressure cooker. I inverted a bowl at the bottom of the pot then placed a dish on top' I place the tamales on top of that loosley tied together with plastic wrap in bundles which I put in standing up. I had no problem with mine and now it's how I'll do it all the time.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Cherylptw

                    How long did you cook them in the pressure cooker and at what level high or low?

                    1. re: Smokeyrowe

                      I cooked mine on low...it was a trial & error effort as it was the first time trying it and I first started with 20 minutes then kept checking it every 10 minutes. Mine took about 40 minutes.

                      Thanks for bringing this thread up again; I have some prepared masa frozen that I brought home from my Christmas vacation i need to use up.

                  2. IF YOU DO YOU WILL BE MAKING CHAMPURRADO

                    1. don't try it you will be messing up all your hard work use the proper tamale cooker they are fairly cheap