How to make it

  • First make the filling.
  • Very briefly toast chiles in a skillet over high heat, just until the color lightens a bit and you can smell them. Do NOT overdo this! Toast garlic cloves until soft and skin is charred. Remove and peel. Cover chiles with boiling water and soak for 20 minutes. Drain. Stem chiles and drain excess water from them. Process with the garlic and about 1/2 - 3/4 c. of the chicken stock into a smooth puree. Strain through a food mill (easiest) or a strainer (a pain). Heat oil in the skillet until quite hot. Add puree, and stir constantly over medium-high heat until the puree thickens and darkens. Add the remaining stock, and simmer until the consistency of cream. Mix with the minced chicken.
  • Now, make the tamales:
  • Cover the husks with boiling water, put a bowl on top to keep them submerged, and soak for an hour until soft. Drain.
  • If you don't have a great big steamer, put the small bowl in the bottom of the stock pot. Add water till about a half-inch below the top of the bowl (and make sure you fill the bowl with water, or it will float and won't work). Place the rack on top of the bowl, and line the rack with corn husks to keep the water from splattering the tamales.
  • Prepare the dough. Thoroughly mix the masa with the hot water and let it cool. Beat the lard and baking powder until fluffy. Add the cooled masa in fourths, beating each in thoroughly. Add 1/2 c. of the stock, and beat for a couple of mintes, then test. When you add a bit to a glass of water, it should float. If it doesn't, beat a couple more minutes. Add enough additional stock so that it is the consistency of thick cake batter — it must hold its shape, but it also must be soft and moist. Salt to taste, then refrigerate for an hour. Beat again, adding enough additional stock to bring it to the correct consistency; this ensures the lightest tamales. Again, taste, and salt if needed.
  • Make the tamales. This is NOT hard. Hold a large corn husk in your hand (you'll need to overlap two, if you're using the small ones). With a soup spoon, sling a couple of spoonfuls of the batter onto the husk. Smoosh it out to roughly a 3-4 inch square (you don't have to be really anal about this). Put a spoonful of the filling on the center, then using both your hands, fold the sides of the husk around the tamale and roll. Fold up the near end and tie it off with a strip of corn husk, then put the tamale, tied end down, on the husk lined rack. Repeat until all the batter is gone.
  • Cover the tamales with the remaining husks, again to keep out any water, and cover. Bring to a boil, then steam for 1 ½ - 2 hours over medium low heat. If you used molé as a filling, you can heat some and serve it along with the tamales, but tamales need no additional sauce.
  • I promise that after you make your own, you'll never eat those nasty things out of a can or jar again.

Reviews & Comments 10

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  • twill10 5 years ago
    lard is a 4 letter word I love>>>>>>>thx
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  • ladilizbet 6 years ago
    What fun reading your recipes!
    I love to use Hatch, New Mexico Chili's. The Mexican ones can blister,OUCH!
    Yes only Masa Harina best to use.
    my girlfriend cooks her's tamales in a hugh pot over an open fire BBQ, She lines the bottom of pot with layers of wet corn husks then layers the tamale and puts on tight lid. the bottom corn husks start to smoke and the end result is smoked tamale's -- to die for!

    will finish your recipes later, gotta go now.
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  • redhawk 7 years ago
    Sounds like another winner!
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    " It was excellent "
    elgourmand ate it and said...
    Down on the Baja I ran across tamales wrapped in banana leaves. I really didn't notice any difference in taste. Out here in Samoa you cannot buy corn husks in the shop so I usually use banana leaves.
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    " It was excellent "
    elgourmand ate it and said...
    Yep, yep and yep. Thanks for not telling folks to open a can of these and a packet of instant that, etc. Most Mexican stuff is a bit involved but worth it. Thanks for takin the time to do it right.
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  • conner909 10 years ago
    Thanks for giving so much of your time when posting your recipes! Making them from scratch is a lot of work...I don't find that it's hard to make, just labor intensive. When I make tamales, I don't give them out willy-nilly....only to those that really appreciate them!
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  • lenora 10 years ago
    What do you mean that one or the other makes you wet your pants more? Was that a typo?
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    " It was excellent "
    schmeelaf ate it and said...
    This sounds fabulous and I appreciate the detailed directions.
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  • dandelion 11 years ago
    I know it would be a huge favor to ask, but I can't seem to grasp the wrapping portion of your instructions. Could you add a couple of pictures? I get the folding and rolling just not the tieing off part.
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  • trackwidow 11 years ago
    Wow, I've made home made tamales before, they are a fun project and well worth the steps involved. I've used a pork and chile mixture for the filling as well a a chicken in a tomatillo based sauce. I am looking forward to trying this recipe.
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