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Pardon my ignorance but how do you eat a tamale

Last post May 13, 2008 4:51 PM by GranMarion____MN . 6 replies.


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  • Pardon my ignorance but how do you eat a tamale

    Hi Everyone

    I have always wondered how you eat a tamale. Do you eat the corn husk?? What is inside of one? As you can tell I have never had one.

    Linda

    md037.gif picture by wargofive

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  • Re: Pardon my ignorance but how do you eat a tamale

    Linda I make homemade tamales and you don't eat the corn husk. I wrap my tamale in the husk and tie the ends with thin strips of corn husk that I have torn into strips. Inside a tamale you can find many things, but first inside that wrapper you will find a breading or outside of the tamales itself a cornneal or cornbread as some people say, but it is not really like that exactly, it is made with a masa corn flour, mixed with lard for the original made tamale and I use a chicken broth or beef broth for the water it calls for many times. It has a meat filling most of the time, from pork,beef,chicken or as I use, GROUND beef, meaning hamburger. Seasoned with spices of taco season, cumin to many different spices. Or you can just lay a piece of cheese, like a cheddar or pepper jack with jalapenos peppers as well and wrap, it in the filling as you fold the tamale. I tell you what, I sent another lady a recipe for my tamales and I will post it here for you. Whether you want to use it or not is totally up to you. They are alot of work, but great fun to do with friends and family. I myself usually make them by myself and share with neighbors.

     

     

    Homemade Tamales


     
    Before you start, soak your package of corn husk in very warm water to soften them. I have got where I soak them over night before I go to bed, makes for a shorter task. I put a plate on the top of them to ATTEMPT*smiles* to hold them down. You will find some of the corn husk might have a hole in them or something, SAVE THOSE but be sure to soak them as well. You will be tearing those into strips to tie ends of your tamales closed, that is the work part. You can soak your corn husks for a couple hours instead if you don't want to soak them over night, I just break up the process a bit.After your wrappers are soaked, it softens them for working with and not tearing up on you. The ones that have the holes and so forth, tear them into strips lengthwise with the grain. Truly this is easy when you get the hang of it.Drain the water out of your sink and just let your husk drain that way. I lay a clean tee towel on my counter to lay the softened husks on, it soaks up the water as well.


     
    Applying the Masa coating. I use a butter knife or an icing knife, if you have one like a Wilton, it works fantastic. Apply about a 1/4 inch thick layer of the masa mix on your corn husk, leaving about a 1/2 inch edge around, then put about a tbsp or more of filling into the mase mix, lengthwise of it, not the width wise. I am sure you will understand what I mean when you go to roll this now, folding it so you meet the side of the masa to the opposite side of the masa with the filling rolled in the center, like a filled egg roll.Make sure the filling does not go completely to the end of the masa outside or it will fall out of your tamale. Gosh this is easier to do than to try to explain in writing. LOL. So now your tamale is rolled up,take one of those torn corn husk strings, wrap it around the end of the tamale where you should have space left for tying the end. Gently but firmly tie one end, then do the same on the other as well with another piece of torn husk strand.You will have what looks like a big tied up toosie roll. I make several of these up at first and then start the finished cooking process. To finish cooking, you steam them over boiling water, in a steamer or something like that. I have used a regular steamer and steamed for 20-25 mins. I have used a double boiler steam type pan. However you do it, they are to be steamed, like I said for about 20-25 mins. You can steam a bunch at a time as well, I pile as many as I can get in the pan just making sure that the lid closes completely. If you had a big enough pan you could steam them all at once. Putting the tamales on top of each other placed this and that way to get them in, again, just make sure the lid is down so the steam stays in. I improvised one time and used a big pan and had a separate wire basket, but I put water in the big pan and laid down 4 canning lid rings and placed the wire basket on top to steam my tamales in. But you want your water under the tamales, not on. These can be frozen after they are cooled and then taken out and nuked as you want to use them. ** If you run out of filling for the masa, take some lenthwise cut monterey jack cheese with jalapeno in it, put that in the center and roll just like you would a tamale. Colby, Cheddar, they all work. You may get some leaking cheese, but boy they do taste good.*smiles* You can fill the tamales with seasoned chicken, with taco seasoning, and green chilies as well. Just try it and improvise to your own taste.


     
    3 cups Masa Harina Tortilla Flour
    1 cup lard or shortening*
    2 cups warm water
    1 tsp salt
    * I always use lard there is just nothing like the taste it gives your tamales to be honest, you might want to try half and half maybe. And I add a chicken bouillon cube to my warm water and dissolve.
    1 pkg corn husks, you can find these in Safeway, probably Albertsons and so forth, over by Mexican ethnic foods.


     
    Filling:


     
    2 lb lean ground beef
    1 cup finely chopped onion
    1 package taco seasoning
    1/2 tsp cumin
    very small pinch in cinnamon, Mexican foods are known for having cumin as well as cinnamon as a seasoning
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1/2 tsp salt
    Brown ground beef and add onions and garlic, when beef is almost done, drain well of grease. Add the rest of your seasonings.








    Homemade Tamales


     
    Before you start, soak your package of corn husk in very warm water to soften them. I have got where I soak them over night before I go to bed, makes for a shorter task. I put a plate on the top of them to ATTEMPT*smiles* to hold them down. You will find some of the corn husk might have a hole in them or something, SAVE THOSE but be sure to soak them as well. You will be tearing those into strips to tie ends of your tamales closed, that is the work part. You can soak your corn husks for a couple hours instead if you don't want to soak them over night, I just break up the process a bit.After your wrappers are soaked, it softens them for working with and not tearing up on you. The ones that have the holes and so forth, tear them into strips lengthwise with the grain. Truly this is easy when you get the hang of it.Drain the water out of your sink and just let your husk drain that way. I lay a clean tee towel on my counter to lay the softened husks on, it soaks up the water as well.


     
    Applying the Masa coating. I use a butter knife or an icing knife, if you have one like a Wilton, it works fantastic. Apply about a 1/4 inch thick layer of the masa mix on your corn husk, leaving about a 1/2 inch edge around, then put about a tbsp or more of filling into the mase mix, lengthwise of it, not the width wise. I am sure you will understand what I mean when you go to roll this now, folding it so you meet the side of the masa to the opposite side of the masa with the filling rolled in the center, like a filled egg roll.Make sure the filling does not go completely to the end of the masa outside or it will fall out of your tamale. Gosh this is easier to do than to try to explain in writing. LOL. So now your tamale is rolled up,take one of those torn corn husk strings, wrap it around the end of the tamale where you should have space left for tying the end. Gently but firmly tie one end, then do the same on the other as well with another piece of torn husk strand.You will have what looks like a big tied up toosie roll. I make several of these up at first and then start the finished cooking process. To finish cooking, you steam them over boiling water, in a steamer or something like that. I have used a regular steamer and steamed for 20-25 mins. I have used a double boiler steam type pan. However you do it, they are to be steamed, like I said for about 20-25 mins. You can steam a bunch at a time as well, I pile as many as I can get in the pan just making sure that the lid closes completely. If you had a big enough pan you could steam them all at once. Putting the tamales on top of each other placed this and that way to get them in, again, just make sure the lid is down so the steam stays in. I improvised one time and used a big pan and had a separate wire basket, but I put water in the big pan and laid down 4 canning lid rings and placed the wire basket on top to steam my tamales in. But you want your water under the tamales, not on. These can be frozen after they are cooled and then taken out and nuked as you want to use them. ** If you run out of filling for the masa, take some lenthwise cut monterey jack cheese with jalapeno in it, put that in the center and roll just like you would a tamale. Colby, Cheddar, they all work. You may get some leaking cheese, but boy they do taste good.*smiles* You can fill the tamales with seasoned chicken, with taco seasoning, and green chilies as well. Just try it and improvise to your own taste.


     
    3 cups Masa Harina Tortilla Flour
    1 cup lard or shortening*
    2 cups warm water
    1 tsp salt
    * I always use lard there is just nothing like the taste it gives your tamales to be honest, you might want to try half and half maybe. And I add a chicken bouillon cube to my warm water and dissolve.
    1 pkg corn husks, you can find these in Safeway, probably Albertsons and so forth, over by Mexican ethnic foods.


     
    Filling:


     
    2 lb lean ground beef
    1 cup finely chopped onion
    1 package taco seasoning
    1/2 tsp cumin
    very small pinch in cinnamon, Mexican foods are known for having cumin as well as cinnamon as a seasoning
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1/2 tsp salt
    Brown ground beef and add onions and garlic, when beef is almost done, drain well of grease. Add the rest of your seasonings.

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  • Re: Pardon my ignorance but how do you eat a tamale

    Wow

    they sound fantastic!  I will try to find the husks in my markets here. And someday attempt them

    Linda

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  • Re: Pardon my ignorance but how do you eat a tamale

    Wow! Those sound so yummy, huge Mexican fan here. About how many does this recipe make? never thought to attempt them but you make it sound doable. Thanks.

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  • Re: Pardon my ignorance but how do you eat a tamale

    Tizzlish, I really can't say how much this makes, depends on how thick you put the tamale dough in, I like to spread mine thinner, and I usally just go ahead and soak a whole package of husks, alot of work ahead of me I know. But if I run out of filling, I take cheese and put in the dough and either some canned green chilies, or for the spicier taste, the jalapenos. My neighbors in Missouri were Mexican and they even put grape jelly into their tamales, not bad, but just not used to that type of tamale. My Dad used to buy the canned tamales when we were growing up and after I tried a fresh tamale I was sold on never buying another canned tamale in this life time. LOL. I would say you will probably end up with about 3 dozen tamales on a pack of husk, maybe more. I do know I made some about 2 weeks ago and shared a huge platter with neighbors as well. I know the recipe can look over whelming but when you fix the stuff, actually you can make the filling the day before, meaning the meat filling, and assemble the next day, makes it easier for first timers. Waiting on the husks to soak, I say get wet enough so I can get busy. *grin* Connie

     I bought a double steamer pan over in AL at a outlet store, it is a sauce pan, I add water to the bottom one and it has TWO stacking steamer pans to fit on top and a lid, talk about working up much faster, greatttt!

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  • Re: Pardon my ignorance but how do you eat a tamale
    CS, you did a fantastic job of telling the story of making tamalies. I love them.

    Boe
     
    boeboe posted that about my thread on making homemade tamales, it is posted under csharris_la,  Connie
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  • Re: Pardon my ignorance but how do you eat a tamale

    Wilted FlowerThank You wargofive for asking the question. I didn't know either so I appreciate it.

    And Wilted FlowerThank You, Dangit, for clearing up the matter for us, as well as the recipe and information.

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