(Family Features) A tamalada, or tamale-making party, is a Mexican holiday tradition that occurs during Las Posadas and combines two of the season’s most important ingredients – quality family time and flavorful food.
Consider these tips from Sylvia Garza of Qué Mami Organics to help make your tamalada fun and easy.
Food:Before your tamalada, prepare the ingredients that require extra time and work. For example, if you are using roasted chiles, roast them the day before and have them peeled, seeded and cut up for seamless assembly the next day.
Family: When hosting a tamalada, have food or snacks ready to share with your guests. Making dozens of tamales can take most of the day, so you’ll want to keep your helpers well-fed.
Flavor: Add an ingredient like Tabasco Chipotle Sauce to your masa when making tamales. Not only can the sauce add smoky flavor, but it also gives the dough an appetizing golden color. You can also mix the sauce into your filling for a brighter flavor and a kick of heat.
30 large, softened corn husks
3 cups masa harina (corn flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 1/3 cups vegetable broth, warmed
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 garlic clove, finely diced
3 cups zucchini, cubed small
1 tomato, cubed small
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup sweet white corn
4 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
5 ounces Qué Mami Organics Red Enchilada Sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons Tabasco Pepper Sauce
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 1/2-ounce strips
To prep husks: Soak corn husks in hot water. Place heavy pot on top of husks to keep submerged at least 1 hour. Once pliable, rinse each corn husk.
To make dough: In large bowl, mix corn flour, baking powder and sea salt. Using hands, mix in warm vegetable broth to make firm dough. In mixer, cream butter and shortening until fluffy then add dough in small amounts until well mixed. Continue mixing at low-medium speed 5 minutes, scraping dough off sides of bowl. Reserve dough.
To make filling: In large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil; saute red onion and garlic until translucent. Add zucchini and mix 1 minute. Add tomato, dried oregano and sea salt; continue mixing 1 minute. Add corn and chopped cilantro. Stir and continue cooking about 2 minutes more; zucchini should be cooked but al dente. Remove filling to heat-resistant bowl.
In small bowl, combine enchilada sauce and Tabasco pepper sauce. Add half of sauce mixture to filling; mix well. Reserve remaining sauce.
To assemble tamales, spread 2 tablespoons dough onto wide end of each corn husk. Dough should extend across corn husks, except 1 inch on sides and about 3 inches from narrow end.
Scoop about 1 tablespoon zucchini and corn filling into middle of dough. Add 1 teaspoon reserved sauce over filling and one strip cheese on top. Fold right side of corn husk over filling and seal closed with dough. Fold over left side of corn husk tightly and fold narrow end of corn husk up. Cut strips from extra corn husks and tie around each tamale to secure.
Place tamales vertically, filling-side up, in steam pot with enough water to steam for 40-45 minutes. Cover tamales with extra corn husks to trap in steam; place lid on pot. Tamales are ready when masa dough separates easily from husks. Add water to pot, as necessary, for longer steaming.
Let tamales rest for 10 minutes before unwrapping. Remove corn husks before serving.