Simple tamales. I finally figured out how to make them.
I used to absolutely hate them. When I was young, I just saw them as these slippery mushy looking things that slid out of a can. They just seemed like pure nastiness.
Once I started really embracing the whole culinary world, I opened myself up to all kinds of things that I had misconceptions about. It’s funny how things change when you take things into your own hands.
Now that I’ve made them myself, I actually really
like them. Trust me, I have a feeling that my friends and family probably don’t enjoy dining out with me anymore. I didn’t mean to become a restaurant asshole, but apparently it happened somewhere along the way.
These are actually fun to make, and you don’t even need a tamale steamer. I used a wire rack on top of a baking pan halfway filled with water and steamed them on the stovetop covered with foil. It’s so easy.
One of the things I love about these is the versatility – they’re kind of like tacos or burritos; fill them with whatever the hell you want.
I made both chicken and beef filled, some with salsa verde and some with hot sauce, and both were awesome. You could even go meatless if you wanted to and fill them with beans, corn, etc.
I found rolling them with the corn husks to be difficult until I watched this YouTube video – it’s SO easy. Don’t let it intimidate you. It may take a couple of practice runs, but I promise it’s not difficult.
Another key to making these is getting the consistency with the masa flour. You can’t use just regular cornmeal; that doesn’t work. Masa is pre-treated with lye – that’s the difference. It’s perfect for making corn tortillas and tamales, etc. Isn’t that frustrating? You would think cornmeal would be cornmeal, but oh well, now you know.
Now that I have my method down, I’ll be experimenting with more fillings. I want to make crazy tamales – like buffalo chicken, jalapeno popper, cheeseburger and chili filled. I just have so many ideas.
Those bastards keep me up at night.
Here’s your printable!
- 2 cups Masa flour
- 1 1/2 cups water (more if consistency is too thick)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 lb. ground round, browned
- 1/2 lb. chicken, cooked and shredded
- Taco seasoning
- Salsa verde
- Corn husks (found at Mexican grocery stores and at some large chain grocery stores in the produce section)
To Serve With
- Sour cream
- Diced jalapenos
- Tomatoes, diced
- Hot sauce
- Salsa Verde
- Emerge corn husks in a large bowl filled with cold water for at least 2 hours, up to one day.
- Combine masa, water and salt in a stand mixer, adding water if needed, until consistency is like cookie dough.
- Drain husks and pat dry.
- Sprinkle both ground round and chicken with taco seasoning while still hot and toss to coat.
- Spread masa on large end of corn husk, only one one side and not spreading all the way to small end of husk.
- Put about a tablespoon of chicken or beef filling in the center of the masa.
- Fold by rolling from filling side, stopping midway and folding small end up to meet the middle and continue rolling to the end. Secure with strands of corn husks (I just tore them) or twine.
- Bring water to a boil in a baking pan and layer tamales on a wire rack set on top of the pan; cover with foil.
- Reduce heat to low and steam for 30-45 minutes, until corn husks remove easily from tamales.
- Serve with sour cream, cilantro, jalapeños, tomatoes, hot sauce and salsa verde, if desired.