Raised in California, I’ve had a lot of exposure to Mexican food that I’ve grown to appreciate and miss since I no longer live there. Tamales are one of my favorite foods and can be time consuming but if you have a helper and some extra time on your hands, here is a relatively easy recipe. You’ll want to start in the order given and delegate some minor prepping to your helper so things can move along smoothly. Feel free to adjust portions of the filling to your liking or even substitute ingredients, it’s all relative and cooking is about creating what you like.
Soak the corn husks in warm water until soft, at least 30 minutes or while you are prepping the dough and filling.
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 3/4 cups masa flour
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoon chile powder
1 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup chilled lard or shortening (you can also use olive oil if you’re in a pinch)
In a mixing bowl combine masa and warm water or broth until combined. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes or so to let the masa soften. Then mix it on low speed until a dough forms.
After the Masa Harina is prepared, gradually add in the salt, cumin, chili, garlic and onion powder by sprinkling them over the dough as you mix it.
In a separate bowl, whip lard or shortening about three minutes or until fluffy. Add the lard to the dough a little at a time while mixing until well combined.
The mixture should be about the consistency of peanut butter. If not, add more masa harina, water, oil or broth as necessary.
1/4 cup chopped yellow onions
1/4 cup chopped bell peppers
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cilantro paste or 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears), thawed
1 pound shredded rotisserie chicken
Combine these ingredients in a medium bowl for the filling. Mix well.
CREATING THE TAMALE
Here are pictures of the step by step creation of a tamale. I do it this way and it has always worked out for me but if you have another method i would love to hear about it.
Use at least 2 corn husks to create a shell for your tamale and fan them out keeping them overlapped. Flatten out a ball of dough with your hands and into your husks. Use the amount of dough based on the size of a tamale you would like to make (I like to make a meal out of mine). Add your filling in the center leaving a little space along the edge to close up your tamale.
Create another ball of dough and flatten out in your hands. Cover the filling and half shell with this top piece. Press it down along the edge then bring up the edge of the bottom piece so you have the filling completely enclosed.
Using the corn husks to help shape your tamale, bring one side over to wrap it together.
Bring the other side over and fold the bottom up to seal it. You can additionally wrap your tamales in foil or use cord to tie it all together.
Steam for 35-60 mins. Check the water level of your steamer and the dryness of the dough every 20 minutes to determine when they are done. Add more water as necessary to the pot and be sure to boil it on high.
Serve it with your favorite salsa, share with your friends and make sure you ~ Enjoy!
If you tried this recipe, please send me your food porn pics or any recipe adjustments you made. I would love to hear from you!