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Wednesday
May042011

recipe: basic tamales

1-1/3 C manteca (or shortening)
3 C masa harina
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2-1/2 C beef broth, warmed
8 oz dried corn husks (1 package)
Makes about 20

Directions:
Soak the dried husks in warm water for at least 3 hours—or overnight—to make them pliable and easy to handle.

Place the manteca in a standing mixer and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy—about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl sift together to the masa, baking powder and salt. Add the masa mixture to the whipped manteca, on low speed, until just combined.

Slowly add the warm broth to the masa/manteca mixture until a light spongy dough forms.

To assemble the tamales, place two soaked husks on a clean surface, overlapping by about 1-1/2”. Place 1/4 cup of the tamale mixture over the center of the husks and gently spread the mixture. If using filling, place filling mixture over the tamale mixture at this time.
hint: leave a 1” boarder on both side of the husks since they will be tied with strings as shown.

Fold the sides of the husks into the center and place in a steamer—seam side down—for about 1-1/2 hours, or until the tamales separate easily from the husk when unwrapped.

Adam’s hints:
—this is all about presentation so jazz them up with colored corn husk ties
.
—for the colored ties:
add a few tablespoons of food coloring to the boiling water when soaking a few of the dry corn husks—we used thick gel food coloring which can be found any cake decorating or craft store. Once the hunks were fully dyed—which took about 1 hour—they were removed from the dye bath and cut into 1/2” strips. This can be done a day in advance—just store them in an air-tight container to keep them moist and pliable.
—to tie the colored ties:
after filling the tamale with the masa, roll the husk around the filling to make a tube and use the 1/2” strips of husk to the the ends. Some husks are just thicker than others—look for one that’s not too thick that it’s hard to work with, and not too thin that it might break.
—for a refined presentation, simply fold under the ends of the tamales and skip the colored ties entirely.

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