A tamale- or more correctly "tamal" - is a traditional Latin American dish made of masa ( a starchy dough, usually corn based), which is steamed or boiled in a leaf wrapper.
The wrapping is discarded before eating. Tamales can themselves be filled with meats, cheese, vegetables, chilies, or any preparation according to taste, and both the filling and the cooking liquid may be seasoned.
Tamale Dough Recipe
6 cups masa harina
5 cups warm water or low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups lard (or shortening if desired)
3 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons cumin
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoon salt
In a mixing bowl combine masa and warm water (or broth) until combined. Let the mixture sit for about 20 minutes, allowing the masa to soften.
Mix the masa on low speed until a dough forms.
After the masa harina is prepared. Gradually add in the salt, cumin and onion powder by sprinkling them over the dough while the dough is being mixed.
In a separate bowl, whip the lard (or shortening) about three minutes or until the lard is fluffy.
Add the lard to the masa harina dough slowly incorporating it into the dough, mixing until well combined.
The mixture should be about the consistency of peanut butter when done. Add more masa harina to attain this consistency. Additional water (or broth) may also be necessary.
Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
HOW TO PREPARE TAMALES
What You Need
Large container for soaking
Container or plastic bag for keeping husks in Tamale dough.
Steaming bucket or something you can steam tamales in
Go through the corn husks removing any debris. Separate the larger usable pieces from the smaller bits and pieces. Save the smaller piece for later. Soak the husks.
Place the husks into a large bowl. Cover husks with warm water. Set a heavy item (such as a heavy bowl) on top of the husks to keep them submerged.
PREPARING THE HUSKS
Remove the husks from the water and pat dry. Place into a covered dish or a large plastic bag to prevent from drying out.
Use only the larger and medium sized husks for tamales.
The smaller husks may be used later for tying.
Husks should have a narrow end, a broad end and 2 long sides
ADDING THE DOUGH
Lay a husk on a flat surface. Place 1-2 tablespoons of dough onto the husk.
When spreading the dough, leave a space of about 4 inches from the narrow end of the husk and about 2 inches from the other end.
Spread the dough to the edge of one of the long sides and 2 inches awar from the other long side. Try to keep the dough approximately 1/4 to a 1/2 inch thick.
Spread about a tablespoon of filling down the center of the dough
FOLDING THE HUSK
Located the long side with a 2 inch space with no masa. Fold that over, slightly overlapping the other side so the edges of the dough meet. Wrap the extra husk around the back.,
Finally folding the broad end over the top and then the longer narrow end over the broad end.
TYING THE HUSKS
Create strips of husk by cutting or tearing 1/4 inch lengths off of some of the smaller or unusable husks.
Use these to tie across the middle of the tamale to hold the flaps down.
Set tamales upright in a steamer. You can buy large steamers made just for this purpose. You may have something else you can use to create the same effect.
The key is to have a small amount of boiling water on the bottom of the pot and a colander or mesh of some sort to keep the tamales away from the water.
Steam the Tamales for about 90 minutes.
Do not let the water come to a boil. Add hot water to the pot as necessary, but keep the water away from the tamales.
If some of the husks are too small or you have trouble closing them, use extra pieces of husk to wrap around the open areas. You can also use kitchen twine to tie off tamales.
3 Cups shredded beef
8 large roasted chiles (skin seeds and remove veins, coarsely chopped)
1 white onion (peeled and coarsely chopped)
6 cloves of garlic (peeled and crushed)
1 jalapeno (removing the seeds)
3 potatoes (peel the skin, boil and diced into large chunks
1 cup homemade chile sauce or store bought chile sauce
Mix all the ingredients together use as filling when preparing tamales
Green Chile Filling
1 cup green chiles (roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped)
3 cups shredded Jack Cheese
1/2 cup green chile sauce
1/2 cup whole corn kernels added to dough
Mix all the ingredients together. Use as a filling when preparing tamales