Saturday, July 14, 2012

Make your own tamales

Normally, I make tamales around the holidays. The tradition has something to do with everyone having something special to unwrap on Christmas. I like that. Last November, when my mom was visiting, we cooked the meat. I never got around to making the tamales. Luckily I have a chest freezer and there sat my meat and frozen broth.

I said "normally" but I've only been making tamales for a few years. I came upon this fantastic webpage and recipe. It's really all you need, but me being me, I altered the recipe a bit. I'm also going to provide a scaled down version of the recipe.

The first time I made these, I didn't know what I was in for, but I am egotistical, optimistic, and hardheaded. All the subsequent times was me being a total idiot thinking I could do this thing. Make all these nommy tamales. I'd be a tamale rock star.

See, the original recipe always makes enough meat for 2-3 batches of tamales. Each batch makes about 48-60 of the darlings. Now, this is a fantastic way to make a bunch of frugal food, and I'm sure with the right helpers it could be a whole lotta fun. Last year I had every intention of having a tamale making party, but just seemed to have neither the gumption nor the get-up-and-go.

Whatever. I'm not a tamale rock star and I always want to shoot myself in the eye once I commit to making them. As long as the dough goes unmade, it's all still theoretical and fun. The reality is that if by the time they are all made you still want to eat some a miracle might just have occured. I'm not trying to scare you off, but it takes several hours to prepare and steam a batch. Once the masa gets wet things gets real.

How to make tamales:

Please see above link.

Tamale recipe (my version): I substitute ground cumin for the seeds in the dough. Seriously, you don't mess with a good recipe.

A scaled down version:

For the meat (filling, could be optional to make a vegetarian version, or maybe you could use a meat substitute):
  • 4 lbs bone-in pork and/or chicken, cooked and shredded
  • 2 Tbs plus 2 tsp corn oil
  • 2 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 Tbs garlic powder
  • 1 Tbs ground cumin
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
For the dough:
  • 2 cups masa (I use Maseca, but will be switching to something made from organic corn in the future)
  • 2/3 cups corn oil
  • 1 Tbs paprika
  • 1 Tbs salt
  • 1 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 Tbs garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin (I prefer the flavor of the ground cumin over that of the seeds)
The tamales would otherwise be prepared the same way. Here's another link to that webite. I did not make this recipe and I claim no ownership of any part, not even the (untested) scaled-down version.