We often eat tamales. We have seen tamales made for us. We buy local tamales. We received a tamale-making package that even included the steam pot, yet we were slow on taking up the challenge to make our own tamales, until now! I checked YouTube cooking info, read the directions on the back of our masa bag, my notes from being shown a couple of years ago by another person on how to make tamales, and then we decided to dive into this challenge! To make our cooking a bit easier, we decided on a simple stuffing: chiles, turkey and cheese all available in our refrigerator.
The first challenge was knowing how many corn husks we had since they are dried tightly and wrapped in a cellophane bag. We guessed there may be 25. We soaked them in warm water for about 20 minutes. What we forgot, about spooning masa onto or using a spreader, was which side of the husk to put the masa! Next time we will get it right, onto the smooth side! Large husks allow you to rip a strip off the side of it so you can use it to tie the husk and ingredients together as a small package.
Water is in the pot to the level just below the shelf the tamales will sit straight up on once the water is brought to boiling. They are steamed in the covered pot for 50 minutes on high heat, then while also keeping the pot covered for an additional 20 minutes with no heat … to rest! Since we made 16 tamales from the 2 cups of masa and fixings, we put the leftover corn husks in the middle so all tamales would remain upright through the steaming process. I guess you can put a ball of foil there instead according to something I read.
Our tamales had no extra sauce in the masa or meat as we knew we would have salsa to put on top of each tamale. Future tamales we will get more creative with beans, corn, sauce and remember what side to put the masa on the husk! For our first attempt, not bad. Extras are being frozen for easy meals. Don’t forget to enjoy your tamales with a good wine!