(III) Make the Tamales
Hot Tamale Ingredients |
OK, you gathered
the equipment, you went shopping with the My Hot Tamale
shopping list, you cooked the meat, and you saved the broth. You are now
ready to become part of an elite group of cooks who have the knowledge, the
tools, and the talent to make tamales.
Now, for those of
you who did not follow the part II instructions which clearly said to save the
meat broth (you know who you are). . . your tamales are not going to taste as
good as the people who did follow the instructions, and did save the broth.
You will see that the instructions were clearly marked In Color to help you
remember. Now, I know you are out there, you people who did not save the
broth. There is not much I can do for you at this point. OK, if you
forgot to save the broth, you can use canned chicken broth in the recipe below,
but next time Please Save the Broth! You will be glad you did.
OK, enough of the chit chat. This is where we get
down to serious cooking. Today is Tamale Day!
A) Make the Masa Dough Mix:
with 2 lbs. of the Masa flour. It comes in a 4 lb bag, use half of it.
Now, skim the fat off the broth that you saved from the Pork and Chicken we made
earlier. Throw the fat away, and save the broth. Warm the broth from the
pork and chicken up. Don't get it hot, just nice and warm.
Now put the 2 lbs. of Masa in a large bowl. Add the
following dry spices to the Masa:
3 Tablespoons paprika
3 Tablespoons salt
1 Tablespoon cumin seeds
3 Tablespoons Gibhardts Chili Powder
3 Tablespoons garlic powder
Mix the spices
above into the Masa until it is completely incorporated. Mix well, as you don't
want a clump of spices in a tamale.
2 cups of Corn Oil
the Masa and Spice mixture. After adding
the oil, begin to slowly work in 2
quarts of the warm chicken/pork broth, about a cup at a time. Work the mixture
with your hands to make dough. Slowly add the warm broth one cup at a time as
you continue to work the mixture with your hands. If it is too dry, add
enough warm water to get it right for spreading. It should be about like thick
peanut butter. If it is too thin add more Masa, if it is too thick, add more
broth or warm water. Thick peanut butter is the consistency you are trying for.
B) Prepare the Corn Shucks
Soak the shucks in a sink full of warm water for about 2
hours. You will need to carefully separate them when they get soft. Try to
not tear or damage the corn shucks. It is easier to make the tamales if
the shucks are in one piece.
C) Build the Tamales
After the corn shucks are soft, take some of them out of
the water, shake the water off, lay them on the counter on a towel. For clarity
now, we will present a series of pictures with the instructions so you can see
just how the tamale is built (Click on Picture
Thumbnails for an enlarged View):
Pick up a shuck, lay it
across the palm of your hand with the small end toward your fingers. scoop
up about 1/2 c of the Masa dough with a spatula, and then smear it on
Cover about left 2/3 of the
shuck with Masa, leave 1/3 on the right uncovered. Similarly, cover the
bottom 2/3 of the shuck, and leave the top 1/3 uncovered. The picture
will help you see what we are trying for here. You need to leave the
top and side uncovered so you can fold it up later. Now, go to the next
shuck and do the same, laying them out on the counter as you put the masa on
them. I like to do 5 or ten at a time like this.
When you have covered 5 to 10 of
the shucks with Masa, it is time to add the meat. Take about 1 tablespoon of
meat, and lay it on the masa about 1 in. from the left edge.
Starting on the left side (the side where the
Masa dough goes all the way to the edge), roll the tamale all the way to the
right edge. Now, fold the top of the shuck over like an envelope and lay
tamale on the counter with the fold on the under side. Roll the next one the
same until all your shucks with masa on them are rolled.
Now, get more shucks and put
masa on them the same way. Then roll the meat in them. Keep doing this until
all the tamales are built. You will have about 4 dozen or more.
D) Cook the Tamales
To cook the tamales, You need a
very large pot that has something in the bottom to keep the tamales out of
the water while they steam (the steamer we use is pictured on the tamale
ingredients page) . Add about 3 pints of water to the pot, then start
stacking the tamales upright until full. The envelope end of the tamale will
be on the bottom, the open end of the tamale should be on top, as pictured
at left. Continue to fill the pot. The tamales need to pack
tight enough that they do not fall over and begin to unfold.
Cover the pot, and bring the
water to a boil and then reduce heat to medium low and cook for at least 2
hours. Check water several times and add more if it is getting low, you
DONíT want to boil it dry. Please note . . . those of you who forgot to save
the chicken broth will probably be the ones to boil the tamales dry.
think you know who you are. Anyway, for the rest of you, Add more
water as you need to. When done, take one tamale out and leave it on the
counter for about 5 minutes to test. Unwrap it and it should be firm, with
no raw masa. When done, remove all the tamales and let them cool on the
counter, then put in bags for the freezer, 6 to a bag. If you have one of
those Vacuum sealers, those are ideal. You can save the tamales in the
freezer indefinitely if they are vacuum sealed. If you use zip lock
bags, they will stay for up to a year in the freezer.
Congratulations! You are now part of the few, the proud, the tamale cooks.
You will notice that your life will be instantly different. You will be
popular. People will invite you over. As you walk up to a crowd of
people, you will hear someone say, "Isn't that the Tamale cook?" Yes folks, your
simple life will never be the same. You have arrived. Please
remember to be kind to the little people.