Basic Recipe for Masa Harina Dough Tamales: Rinse and soak the corn husks
in hot water until they are pliable, preferably overnight. Drain water from
husks and use immediately. If the points had not been cut off before packaging,
cut them off now.
With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat shortening until it is light
and fluffy. Alternately mix in Masa Harina, baking powder and salt with the
stock until a firm dough is formed. The dough should be moist but not wet.
If the husks are small, place two husks together, with smooth side up. Spread
a thin layer of dough (about 2 tablespoons) over an area about 3 inches square
in the center of the husk(s). Place 1 tablespoon of preferred filling, then
1 tablespoon of sauce, on top of the dough. Fold the long sides of the husk
over the dough, then fold the tips over the center, and tie shut with a thin
strip of husk.
Place the tamales upright in the top of a large steamer, and cook until
the dough separates easily from the husk (about 1 to 1 1/2 hours). Do not let
the husks touch the water. Check the pot every 15 minutes to determine if more
water is needed.
This recipe makes 25 tamales.
Beef with Ranch Sauce Filling
Place a sheet of aluminum foil on a griddle turn heat to medium, and let griddle
get hot. Put the whole tomatoes chiles and onion on the hot griddle until they blister.
Do not burn. With a blender pulse the roasted tomatoes, chiles and onion with the
water about three times, being careful not to over-blend. Heat oil in a heavy skillet;
add tomato sauce and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Adjust salt.
Put the garlic through a garlic press, then spread it over the beef. Heat oil
in a skillet and brown the meat uncovered. When brown on all sides, add beer and
cook covered about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until meat is tender. Remove beef from the
skillet and let it cool. When beef is cool, shred it. Use to fill tamales; top tamales
with the sauce. Steam as per instructions. Fills 25 tamales.
Chicken with Mole Filling
In a heavy pot, bring the water to a boil. Add chicken, onion, garlic cloves
and bay leaves. Let chicken boil, covered, for 5 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer
for 35 to 45 minutes, or until meat is tender. Shred chicken.
Place mole paste in a blender with tomato and chicken stock and grind until a
smooth paste forms. In a heavy saucepan, simmer the sauce in oil until it thickens
(about 10 to 15 minutes). Salt to taste. Steam as per instructions. Fills 25 tamales.
Pork with Roasted Tomatillo Sauce Filling
Remove husks from tomatillos; rinse under cool water. Dry tomatillos with a paper
towel. Roast the whole tomatillos, chiles and the 1/2 onion on a hot griddle over
medium heat until they blister and brown slightly, about 10 minutes. Do not burn.
Grind roasted ingredients in a blender with the 1/4 cup water, being careful not
to over-blend. Add rinsed cilantro leaves and pulse the blender about three times.
Heat oil in a heavy skillet. Add tomatillo sauce, and simmer for about 7 minutes.
Bring water to boil in a heavy pot. Add pork and the whole onion, reduce heat
to medium-high, and boil for 1 hour. Mix in the oregano, minced garlic and Maggi
seasoning; simmer for 30 minutes more. Let cool; shred pork. Set stock aside to
use in tamale dough. Prepare sauce and use over tamales. Steam as per instructions.
Fills 25 tamales.
Shrimp with Pasilla Sauce Filling
Rinse Pasilla chiles removing any dust. Dry chiles with a paper towel. On a hot
griddle over medium heat roast the chiles. When roasted on all sides remove from
griddle and let cool. Remove stems, slice down sides and remove seeds and veins.
Let Pasilla chiles rest in the warm water for 20 minutes.
On the same hot griddle roast the tomatoes, Serrano chiles onion and garlic.
In a blender grind the Pasilla with the 1/4 cup warm water, tomatoes, Serrano chiles,
onion, garlic and vinegar. Adjust salt to taste. In a heavy saucepan heat oil and
simmer Pasilla sauce for about 5 minutes. Keep at room temperature until ready to
Shell the shrimp, leaving tail intact. With a sharp knife cut along the curve
in the body and remove the back vein. Rinse shrimp under cool water. Transfer shrimp
to a mixing bowl filled with ice water then add the red wine vinegar. Place in the
refrigerator for 10 minutes.
Drain liquid from shrimp and pat dry with paper towels. Place 1 large shrimp
and 1 teaspoon of the sauce on top of the tamale dough. Steam as per instructions.
Fills 25 tamales.
Remove husks from tomatillos. Rinse well. Bring 2 cups water to boil in a heavy
pot, reduce heat to medium-high, and boil tomatillos for about 7 minutes. Remove
stems from tomatillos, transfer to a blender, and grind with the red tomatoes, achiote
paste, pequin chile, ancho chile and a little water. Set aside
In a Dutch oven over high heat, brown the pork, turning to brown on all sides.
Then cover with hot water and boil for approximately 1 hour with the oregano, cinnamon
stick, garlic and whole onion. The pork must be very well cooked. Discard onion
and water. Cool and shred pork. Mix the sauce with the shredded pork. Transfer to
a Dutch oven and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
Make flat patties with the basic Masa Harina recipe. Fill with shredded pork
and close all sides, forming round shapes. Transfer each filled ball to prepared
corn husk and secure closed at each end with a strip of corn husk or string. Cut
uneven ends of corn husk so both ends will look even. Steam as per instructions.
Fills 25 tamales.
Fresh Corn Tamales
Soak corn husks overnight. Thaw frozen corn. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Dry
corn in the oven for 15 minutes.
In a heavy medium pan, melt shortening. Add pequin chile and aniseeds to the
melted shortening; cool to room temperature. In a blender, mix the sugar, salt,
eggs, thawed corn and melted shortening. Grind, pulsing and scraping down sides
until fully ground (about 4 to 5 minutes). Transfer to a mixing bowl, then add the
Spoon 6 to 7 tablespoons of ground corn mixture onto each corn husk. Fold husk
closed like an envelope and secure with string. Transfer envelopes to a steamer
and steam as per basic instructions, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Makes 12 tamales.
Sweet Almond Tamales
Soak corn husks at least 4 to 7 hours. Pat dry just before using each one.
With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, shortening and sugar until
light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Mix in eggs and continue beating on low.
In a mixing bowl mix masa with baking powder and salt. Grind almonds in a blender
until coarsely chopped. Mix the masa into the butter mixture alternately with the
milk. Mix in the almonds, raisins, almond extract and vanilla extract. Transfer
the masa mixture to the corn husks. Secure closed with strips of corn husks or string.
Steam tamales as per instructions. Makes 25 tamales.
You can substitute sweetened condensed milk for the regular sweet milk, or change
the flavor by omitting the almond flavor and using aniseeds. You can also use bananas.
Experiment and flavor them any way you wish.