Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Making Tamales


lovebenton0
 Share

Recommended Posts

yesssssssss :biggrin: im from phoenix so tamalies for christmas is more normal than a tree . :biggrin: i never ventured to make my own i just went to my tamalie dealer .......an 80 year old lady with a shopping cart in front of the southwest supermarket i went to on 19th and osborn . she had green corn with corn ,green chilies , and queso fresco . :biggrin: then her potato had potatos , green olives , jalipinios , and shredded beef with red chili mmmmmmmmmmmm :biggrin: then her chicken mole , and her green pork chili ones o my hesus im drooling :wub: but my favorits were her desert tamalies i think she just sweetened the maza we would buy some mexican chocolate and sweeten it alittle and pour it on the tamalie . i make tamalies every year as my christmas gift everyone loves them . good thread its warmed my soul old memories :biggrin::rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you very much Abra; the recipe sounds delcious.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd to add that using fresh masa ground coarse for tamales and then adding your own fat is another key element, especially compared to the dry masa harina, even if for tamales, or the fresh masa preperado, with the industrial lard already added. I know that many have to use the masa harina if there's no fresh massa available but it another level using the fresh.

I'd also suggest this thread move to Cooking or Mexico unless we're only referring to Texas-style tamales!

What do you need to make fresh ground masa?

Do I just mixtamalizate(?) dry maiz, grind it, and add a fat?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

such great info here. thanks. can you estimate how much yield there would be from 5 lb white pork fat? i am getting my ducks in a row. or pigs.

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is a good article. Thanks for the link, M. Lucia.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So what ingredients do I need to gather to make fresh masa?

I'd really like to try making tamales using a homemade fresh masa instead of the instant masa or store-bought mixture with industrial lard.

I want to try to make my own masa and use fifi's lard recipe. How do I do it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, if you want to make your own masa, I am sure you can find specific instructions somewhere. I haven't done a good search yet but I can offer this quote from Zarela Martinez:

It is possible to make your own masa from scratch using dried corn, quicklime or slaked lime, and a special mill, but I don't think the effort is worthwhile when most large U.S. Cities are within reach of at least one tortilla factory selling its own fresh ground masa by the pound.

I think the biggest challenge will be finding the corn. I adore the starchy dent corn varieties eaten off the cob like we eat sweet corn. I look obsessively for it during corn season to no avail.

I am sure that we could find a method for the treating, which is called nixtamalization.

At Mexican markets you may be able to find the treated corn. I have seen it in the freezer case at our big Fiesta Mart stores. (I buy it for posole, the stew.) Then if you have a grinder you could grind it yourself. Our Fiesta and HEB has tamale grind masa (coarser than for tortillas) that does not have the lard in it. That is what I have used then just added my own lard.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...

At Mexican markets you may be able to find the treated corn. I have seen it in the freezer case at our big Fiesta Mart stores. (I buy it for posole, the stew.) Then if you have a grinder you could grind it yourself. Our Fiesta and HEB has tamale grind masa (coarser than for tortillas) that does not have the lard in it. That is what I have used then just added my own lard.

I was just poking around my local mexcian market recently (no coincidence, I was inspired by this thread to do some investigating re: tamales). In a refrigerator case they had plastic packages filled with masa--reading the package, one already had lard in it; the other not. Both came from 'masa' factories relatively close by. When I tackle this, my plan is to get the fresh masa w/o lard and to add my own in. (as fifi described above).

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...

At Mexican markets you may be able to find the treated corn. I have seen it in the freezer case at our big Fiesta Mart stores. (I buy it for posole, the stew.) Then if you have a grinder you could grind it yourself. Our Fiesta and HEB has tamale grind masa (coarser than for tortillas) that does not have the lard in it. That is what I have used then just added my own lard.

I was just poking around my local mexcian market recently (no coincidence, I was inspired by this thread to do some investigating re: tamales). In a refrigerator case they had plastic packages filled with masa--reading the package, one already had lard in it; the other not. Both came from 'masa' factories relatively close by. When I tackle this, my plan is to get the fresh masa w/o lard and to add my own in. (as fifi described above).

I think that sounds like the most realistic idea for me too. I'm sure I can manage to procure the fat for the lard from the butcher at a market or even my local HEB butcher if I make arrangements, and lay my hands on the plain masa. :biggrin:

Now if we all just could beam to a common kitchen somewhere . . . :cool::biggrin:

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I get about a quart of lard from 5 lbs of pork fat.  It would be so fun if we could make tamales all together!

Thanks for that, Abra. That is useful to know. I was just reflecting on the fact that, as much lard as I have made, I have never thought to notice what the typical yield would be. :blink:

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought this photo essay on the Ruiz family's tamalada in the Austin American Statesman this morning was pretty cool. :cool:

Of course, ours will be cooler! :rolleyes::laugh:

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are dessert tamales a possibility?

I just thought of a chocolate tamale.  :blink:

Soba

Very possible and not uncommon.

Fillings for tamale dulce are usually a variety of fruits and/or nuts.

Chocolate ones do exist as well.

If that chocolate/corn mix sounds good try a champurrado - a hot chocolate thickened with masa. It can be flavored with piloncillo, anise, canela, or other spices and is often served right alongside a tamal dulce.

Very nice stuff if you're not turned off by the texture.

...I thought I had an appetite for destruction but all I wanted was a club sandwich.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have had dessert tamales several times. It is not unusual for the masa to be dyed pink. The masa may also be sweetened with light brown sugar if you can't get your hands on the piloncillo. The masa may also have some added cinnamon, vanilla, or some tea made from fennel seeds to add an anise note. The most common filling is raisins or other chopped dried fruits that have been soaked in orange juice, Grand Marnier, or tequila. Add some chopped nuts.

Now I am curious about wrapping something like this in those oja santa leaves.

The opportunities are limited only by your imagination.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've got lard rendering right now for making tamales on Sunday. We'll do the mole tamales, of course (all-day mole-making session coming up!), but I need a vegetarian one as well. I haven't settled on a veggie favorite...what's yours?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

yesssssssss :biggrin:  im from phoenix so tamalies for christmas is more normal than a tree . :biggrin:  i never ventured to make my own i just went to my tamalie dealer .......an 80 year old lady with a shopping cart in front of the southwest supermarket i went to on 19th and osborn . she had green corn with corn ,green chilies , and queso fresco .  :biggrin: then her potato had potatos , green olives , jalipinios , and shredded beef with red chili mmmmmmmmmmmm :biggrin: then her chicken mole , and her green pork chili ones o my hesus im drooling  :wub: but my favorits were her desert tamalies i think she just sweetened the maza we would buy some mexican chocolate and sweeten it alittle and pour it on the tamalie . i make tamalies every year as my christmas gift everyone loves them . good thread its warmed my soul old memories  :biggrin:  :rolleyes:

What a wonderful post. I wish I had your tamale lady. :smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've got lard rendering right now for making tamales on Sunday.  We'll do the mole tamales, of course (all-day mole-making session coming up!), but I need a vegetarian one as well.  I haven't settled on a veggie favorite...what's yours?

I've been thinking about veg tamales myself in addition to the pork tamales. And I've got everything I need for the pork I think! :biggrin: My dear neighbor just finished some -- wish I'd known! -- and doesn't know if she'll be doing more. We both have the no balance/klutz in the kitchen disabilities thing going for us, so we kinda laughed when I suggested if she was doing more we could do it together! :raz::laugh: But, she's not sure she'll be able to and had plenty of lard rendered so she gave me a cup and a half of hers. Enough to do the pork at least, about five or six dozen. Does that sound right? :huh:

I was thinking maybe roasted pumpkin, onions and raisins would be good for a veg filling, spiced up with some dried peppers and cumin. Or maybe a roasted MX squash, onions, peppers with MX oregano and cumin. The roasting would remove some of the water content and make it more viable for a filling.

Does this sound feasible (or good? :blink: ) to anyone? :rolleyes:

Anyone else going on their tamales yet?

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our tamale lady comes around to our office every Friday like clockwork. She only makes chicken for $6.00 a dozen. Most of us buy a dozen every Friday for the weekend.

I agree that tamales on Christmas eve is more normal than the tree! Tamles, chili, pico de gallo, guacamole and queso flameda - the tradition never varies.

I have never endeavored to make my own, as there is usually a tamale source available - women who make them and sell them outside of stores, or a tamale truck in my neck of the woods.

Last year I ordered ours from the Spanish Village as I had a real time issue. They were disappointingly dry. I will use Berryhill's as a back up in the future, but they are $12.99 a dozen.

My brothers MIL has finally refused to make them for her family anymore at Christmas, stating it was just too much. Sadly, none of her daughters has picked up the torch.

I enjoy reading about the ambitious tamalada plans and can't wait to see the results! It really is a community/family project. Someday, if I have enough wherewithal to stand another big project after fall sausage making, I intend to try it too.

For now, I will just rely on our tamale lady. I am going to ask her if she can make pork for Christmas....

Good luck y'all!

If you can't act fit to eat like folks, you can just set here and eat in the kitchen - Calpurnia

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our tamale lady comes around to our office every Friday like clockwork.  She only makes chicken for $6.00 a dozen. 

Good gosh, that's a great price! The tamale lady who comes around our workplace charges a buck a piece! :angry:

Are you guys hiring? :laugh:

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow Toliver! I thought the Berryhill restaurant prices were high at a buck each! 6.00 a dozen seems to be the going rate around here in Houston for tamale ladies.

I see that you are Bakersfield. We lived there for two years when I was in high school, and we used to get the best tamales I have ever tasted from a tamale factory somewhere there in town. They were big and fat, filled with shredded beef with a black olive in the middle. They were not anything like our little Texas tamales. The funny thing was that those delicious tamales were made by a Korean family. I wonder if they are still there.

If you can't act fit to eat like folks, you can just set here and eat in the kitchen - Calpurnia

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm very proud of the recipe that Robb and I developed for his The Tex-Mex Cookbook, using Maseca instead of fresh masa (I was concerned about access to fresh masa in other places).

What I would like to talk about today is the pork stuffing and my most recent work on this recipe. I place a 5 lb pork loin roast (bought when on special at Randall's for $1 a pound) in a crock pot with water to cover, two teaspoons of Kosher salt, one teaspoon of garlic powder, two ancho chile pods with seeds removed, and one diced onion, the size of a hardball. Cooked at low temperature overnight. The broth is reserved for use with the masa. A cup or so of broth, the anchos, and onions are run through the blender to make a puree. The pork is shredded and the puree is added. The meat is tasted and salt is added to adjust the taste.

Now, the important step. How hot to make the hot tamales? Add cayenne pepper and black pepper starting with a teaspoon each, and add more until the right amount of fire is achieved. I tend to make mine very hot, just because I am tired of bland tamales.

These tamales go well with the Texas Chili Gravy recipe in Robb's book.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Both Jay's pork and Judith's squash tamales sound so good - wish I could have a little sample. My vegetarian son, however, is anti-squash, which probably means that he was switched at birth, since I eat approximately my weight in squash every winter. I need a corn and cheese-type tamale for him, but I'd like it to be juicy and delectable, as opposed to the gummy version one more normally sees. Anyone?

Oh, just thought I'd add that I got just about 5 cups of lard from 5 lbs of pork fat yesterday, so I think estimating a cup per pound is probably safe. The rendering rate might not be exactly linear, depending on pan surface area and so on, but I think that could be a rule of thumb.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...