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What's Cooking Mexico

Posted Feb 15 2011 12:00am

Even though these are not the only tamales that there are, they are the most popular in Mexico City. I grew up eating this kind and for a long time I really thought a tamal had to always be wrapped in a corn husk. My parents made tamales for a while for their restaurant and I always got the job to clean each husk to make sure they didn’t come with any dirt or weren’t broken. Not a very fun job, but it was better than beaten the dough by hand. For my tamal party I made 7 different flavors of these tamales. For savory tamales the dough is the same, only the filling change. The secret for a great tamal is in the dough. Beating the lard separately first and then adding the rest of the ingredients and keep beating until it becomes fluffy. It’s hard work, but fortunately my KA did that part and made our lives a lot easier that day.

Basic dough for corn husk tamales
Makes about 20-25 tamales

The ingredients:

  • 500 gr (1 lb 2 oz) lard
  • 1 kg (2 lb 2 oz) ground corn for tamales, fresh (you can substitute with this )
  • 1 TBSP salt
  • 200 gr (7 oz) Maseca tortilla flour

The how-to:

To make the tamales:

  • You can find corn husks at your Mexican or Latino market. Make sure to wash them very well and soak them for about 10 minutes before using.
  • Spoon a little bit of the dough in the middle of the husk spreading it with the spoon.
  • Put a little bit of your filling in the middle and wrap the husk tightly. With your hand squeeze the tamal towards the bottom of the husk and fold the top of the husk underneath.
  • Use a second husk if the first one is too small and didn’t get to cover the tamal. Place in steamer.
  • Cook for about one and a half hours. The tamales will be ready when they don’t stick to the husk anymore.
My chiquita at work!

Tamal masa

Pork and green salsa tamal.

And that's how you wrap a tamal

The fillings can be anything from mole, gren sauce, slices of peppers with cheese, chicken, pork, beef, etc. There are even some sweet tamales, but that will be my next post.

Mole tamal

Guajillo and raisins tamal

Rajas and quesillo tamal

¡Buen provecho!

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