Mexican tamales (tamal is the Mexican "singular" use of the word) are packets of corn dough (masa) with a savory or sweet filling and typically wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves. The history of tamales dates back as early as 5000 BC. Popular varietes include fillings of pork, beef, green chili, chicken or beans.
Authentic Mexican Tamales
- 5 lbs. lean pork or beef, cooked and shredded
- 6 to 7 lbs. fresh masa
- 1 1/2 lbs lard
- 1 tbls. salt
- 1 1/2 pts. red chili sauce
- 1 bundle oujas (corn shucks)
To make tamales, cook meat by boiling in a large covered pot with enough water to cover completely. Add salt to taste and slow boil till completely done. Cool meat and save broth. When meat has cooled, shred and mix in the chili sauce
To prepare the corn shucks ( outer husks), soak them in a sink or large pot of warm water for about 2 hours or until soft. Gently separate without tearing.
(make masa by hand or with mixer) Mix the masa, lard , salt and enough broth to make a smooth paste. Beat till a small amount (1 tsp) will float in a cup of cool water.
Spread masa (1/8 to 1/4 inch thick layer, or to preference) on ouja, add a small amount of meat and roll up. Fold up ends of ouja and place(fold down) on a rack in a pan deep enough to steam. Add 1 to 2 inches water, cover with a tight fitting lid and steam about 1 1/2 hours. (a cloth can be used under the lid to make a tighter fit)
Many variations of ingredients can be used in making tamales. You can use a combination of beef and pork, use chicken or even fried beans. One or two olives may be added to the center or try adding a few raisins.
This recipe will make 4 to 5 dozen tamales