Tamales are a traditional holiday treat in Mexico
and since we are off to Mexico for New Years I
thought I would make some traditional steamed
tamales to celebrate Mexican style.
Growing up in Wisconsin we had a family whose
youngest three kids matched up with our oldest
three in age and gender and we were the best
of friends. Their parents were from Mexico and she
made authentic tamales for a church dinner one day.
My mother loved them and asked Rosa to teach her
how to make tamales. We have been making them
every since. I love them on a cold winter night as the
tamales steam up the kitchen windows.
Traditionally they are wrapped in prepared corn husks
which are soaked in water to soften and then tied
off with strips of corn husks. You can find the prepared
corn husks in the Mexican food section of most grocery
The corn husks were not readily available in Wisconsin
growing up so my mother wrapped them in tin foil to
steam them. That works very well too and is less time-
consuming, if not as attractive.
I fill my large canner using the canning rack to hold
them up out of the water and steam them 50-60 minutes
2 C. cooked and ground or shredded beef, chicken or pork
1/2 T. onion powder
1/2 C. tomatoes with green chilis (like Rotel)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. powdered cumin
4 C. masa harina (corn flour found in the Mexican section)
2/3 C. shortening
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp baking powder
3 C. beef or chicken broth
1/2 tsp powdered cumin
Dried corn husks (found in the Mexican section)
Soak the corn husks in hot water for 20-30 minutes or cut
pieces of foil in about 8 inch long pieces.
Mix the filling ingredients in a mixing bowl and set aside.
Mix the dough in a bowl and set aside.
Drain one or 2 pieces of corn husk on towel. Place
about 1/3 to 1/2 C. dough - a small baseball sized
piece on the front edge of the husks or foil. Place about
1-2 T. meat filling down the center of the dough. Begin
with the front edge and roll the tamale up, keeping the
front edge out of the wrapper out of the dough. Use
small strips of corn husk to tie the ends off or twist the ends
of the foil.
Place 2-3 inches of water in a large canner
or steamer. Place the tamales in the steamer
using foil or a rack to keep the tamales
out of the water. Steam for about one hour. Test to make
sure the dough is cooked through and not soggy.
Serve with plenty of sauce. I generally open, blend
and heat a couple of cans of Rotel or some
bottled salsa. I like a lot
of sauce on top of mine. Mother used to use her home
bottled tomatoes that she blended and added chilis to and
I will be posting with