Thursday, February 11, 2010


Back Again! Sorry I have been absent for a while, craziness abounds!

I grew up on tamales, I love tamales, I have mede many, many different versions of tamales. Some are wrapped in corn husks, some are wrapped in banana leaves, some are small, some are large. Tamales are not unlike tacos in the fact that there are countless combinations. They are much easier to prepare than one would think although there is a stigma about them that makes them seem difficult. I am here to set the record straight. The tamales you see in the picture I made last week. My wife was going to a social event where both carnivores and vegetarians were present, so I made one selection with meat, and one with vegetables. They both turned out really well. I used a fresh tomatillo salsa with roasted garlic for both and it worked really well.

First step is the Masa. This is where most tamales live or die. If the masa isin't right, then the entire tamale is going to suck. The standard recipe is as follows.

Masa Dough

2 cups Instant masa flour
2 cups lukewarm water or stock
1 tsp. Baking soda
1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
2/3 cups Lard (or vegetable shortening) Use the lard!
1 Tbs. Achiote paste (found in Hispanic grocery stores)

Technique: Combine masa flour with baking soda and work in broth and salt. Work until you have a soft, moist dough. Whip your fat in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Fold masa dough into fat and blend well. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour covered.

Ok, Thats done. Select the corn husks, use larger ones with no tears if you are new at this. They will piss you off less. Soak them for a while in warm water to soften. I use about 2 Tbs. of masa dough in a regular sized tamale. Take the corn husk in your left hand (right hand if you are left handed), and cup the husk. Add the masa dough and spread out. At the same time I make a little depression to hold the filling. Add filling and roll either in your hand or on a table. I fold the bottom seam up into the tamale so I only have one end to tie. Roll and tie with a strip of corn husk. To cook, set up a steamer on your stove top and bring to a boil. Steam the tamales until they are firm on all sides. Serve immediately. Below are the recipes for the two fillings I used this week. Be adventurous, experiment! Enjoy!

Ground Pork and Chipotle Filling

1 lb ground pork
1 large red onion
3 Chipotle peppers (en adobo)
1/2 cup pitted green olives
5 teeth of minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Technique: Saute pork, garlic, and onion. Mince chipotles and introduce to meat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let cool.

Roasted Corn And Zucchini Filling

Kernels from two ears of sweet corn
1 large zucchini (fine diced)
1 Lg red onion (fine chop)
1/2 cup pitted green olives
1/2 bunch cilantro (fine chop)
5 teeth of garlic (fine mince)
1/2 cup pitted green olives
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbs. Apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste.

Technique: Strip the kernels off the cobb. Saute all ingredients, except the cilantro and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, add the cilantro and vinegar. Let cool.

Make these, enjoy these. Impress your friends and family! Cheers!

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