Macie Faye
Junior Burger
2008/03/10 13:48:06

I am on the road right now but when I get home I plan to make tamales. Any tips?? I have been told by several people that it is too hard and not worth the time. I am a stubborn person and I believe that everything is better when it is homemade. Any recipes?? I have 2 and I am not crazy about them I am looking for THE perfect tamale recipe.
Filet Mignon
RE: Tamales 2008/03/11 08:21:03
My Mexican friends usually only make tamales at Christmas and when they do, they generally do it as a group family function where everyone pitches in and makes a huge amount at once. Sounds like a lot of work but I do enjoy eating the result of their efforts.
RE: Tamales 2008/03/11 09:41:21
Welcome Macie:
Here are 2 previous threads,
http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=23922 (this one has a great recipe)
Linda’s Pork with Chile Colorado Sauce Tamales

6 pounds prepared tamale masa
16-ounce bag of corn husks
5-6 pound pork butt or shoulder
10 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons cumin seed, crushed
3 tablespoons peppercorns, crushed
3 tablespoons coriander seed, crushed
3 teaspoons dry oregano
Kosher salt
3 yellow onions, chopped
1, 12-ounce bag of California chiles, rinsed
1, 12-ounce bag of Pasilla chiles, rinsed
1, 6-ounce bag of Guajillo chiles (hot), rinsed
3 tablespoons oil (vegetable, olive or canola)
Makes three dozen tamales

Day before
Prepare meat. Cut pork roast in half and then in half again. Put into a large stock pot, fill half full. Add 4 cloves chopped garlic, 1 tablespoon cumin seed, 1 tablespoon ground peppercorns, 1 tablespoon Kosher salt. Cook covered on medium high heat for about 30 minutes. Toss meat around and continue cooking for another hour. Meat should be very tender and easy to shred. Remove meat, placing into a bowl to let cool. Once cooled, wrap in foil and place into zip lock bags and refrigerate.
Day of
Purchase fresh masa. Prep onions, garlic, chiles, grind seasonings, peppercorns, cumin seed, and coriander, can be easily done in a coffee grinder. Shred pork meat. Soak corn husks in a hot bath. Let sit and walk away. Can sit for hours or as little as 30 minutes. Remove from water and wrap around towels. Some husks still have silks, can easily be removed with a paper napkin.
Making Chile Colorado Sauce
Put rinsed chiles into a large stockpot. Cover with water and boil 15 - 20 minutes, occasionally stirring and pushing down the chiles on top of pot. Chiles will become soft. Remove from pot and put in a glass or plastic bowl, not steel, as you want them to cool down quickly.
While chiles are cooling, in a large pot, add 3 tablespoons oil. Heat on medium to high heat, add chopped onions and cook, stirring for about 10 minutes until soft and translucent. Add 6 cloves chopped garlic and cook for another minute. Add 2 tablespoons ground cumin seed, 2 tablespoons coriander, 2 tablespoons pepper and oregano. Cook for 10 minutes. Add salt to taste.
Meanwhile, assign someone to shred pork. Instruct them to remove all the fat.
Add the shredded meat to the sauce and let simmer for 30 minutes.
Spreading masa on corn husks
Assign a team to get started with this. Husks are removed from water and patted dry. Lay on towel to absorb the remaining water. The husks have a smooth side and a textured side. Place the husk with the textured side on the palm of your hand, slightly cupping the husk. With a rubber spatula, drop about 2-3 ounces of masa on the middle of the husk. Spread downward from the middle, and to the side on the bottom wide edge. The top 1/3 narrow end of the husk does not get spread with masa. Stack husks on top of each other until ready to be filled.
Filling the tamale husk
Add 1 or 2 spoonfuls of meat filling in center of tamale. Wrap one side toward the middle and the other side to overlap the middle. The masa acts like glue. Then fold the top 1/3 of husk down toward the middle seam. Place tamales in tamale can.
Steaming tamales
Fill can up to water line and place rack in pan. Put tamales standing up with folded end down and exposed end upward. Work your way around the inside of can, circular and moving inward as the can is filling up with tamales. When bottom layer is full, stack on top in the same manner. Layer top of tamales with some of the wet corn husks to maintain moisture in can. Cover and cook. No tamale can? Use a steamer basket and line bottom of large pot with corn husks. Add a few inches of water and layer tamales same way. Heat should be low to medium and water needs to be added frequently.
Cook on medium high heat for 20 minutes, reduce heat to medium low. Cooks in 1 to 1 and a 1/2 hours. Add a little water midway to ensure the can does not dry out.
I have been told to place a copper penny in the bottom of the can — when you don’t hear the penny rattling this is a good indicator you need to add water.
Remove from the pan and place on a platter. Serve with rice and beans and a green salad. Enjoy![

Kland, we have several great places to eat tamales year round in Southern Oregon, so I never make em at home.
Macie Faye
Junior Burger
RE: Tamales 2008/03/11 11:58:13
Thanks for the recipes. I have been planning this for several months and doing lots of reasearch. I am not able to find fresh masa in the store. I am thinking of using the masa flour and making my own. I know that it will be hard and frustrating, but I am up for the challenge. I plan on going to my cousins house or having them over I always like to cook with family. Thanks for all your help.

If you have any tips on making your own masa please send them my way.
Filet Mignon
RE: Tamales 2008/03/11 14:36:39
I see you are outside of St Louis, are there any Mexican stores that you know of? Many carry fresh made masa in a gallon pail but in the stores here in Northern Illinois, it's mostly around a holiday that you will see it.
RE: Tamales 2008/03/12 10:29:21
Hi Macie, this guy's site is really informative:
Macie Faye
Junior Burger
RE: Tamales 2008/03/12 19:17:31
Thanks for all your help I will be sure to let you know how they turned out. I am going to go research mexican food stores in my area, I will also have my mother in law check the commisary on base. They may have it also.
Russ Jackson
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Tamales 2008/03/12 19:19:11
Check this thing out for making Tamales...Russ
Big Kahuna Kooks
RE: Tamales 2008/03/14 10:41:58
Thru th eyears we learned to food process the meat filling regardless of what it is. We started with ropa viejo style strans, but the processed filling holds together much better. good luck. it is a time consuming process. don't expect it to take less than half a day...