If you’d like to try your hand at making tamales, here’s what you’ll need:
- Masa: A corn meal product found in most supermarkets, it is slow-cooked with lard. Can be purchased in early December from some Mexican groceries and restaurants.
- Corn husks: Available in Mexican food section of supermarkets. Get plenty.
- Cooked and shredded pork, chicken or beef. Prepared or purchased sauce for meat.
- Potatoes, cooked and diced.
- A large deep pot (or two) for steaming, with a steamer insert.
Fill steamer pots with water, only up to the height of the steamer insert. Heat the water in the pots to a simmer.
Soak the corn husks in warm water for two hours.
Shred some into long strings and set aside separately.
Have ready the cooked masa, bowls of meat or chicken in sauce, and diced potatoes. Open a husk in your left hand, pointed end down. Using a rubber spatula or your hand, spread a small amount of masa onto the husk. Top with some meat and potatoes. Fold the pointed end of the husk up over the meat. Fold first one side, then the other, over the top. Use one of the husk strings to tie up the tamale.
Place talames in the steamer insert in the pot, standing on end. Steam on medium low for at least two hours.
By Cathy Zimmerman, features editor at The Daily News, Longview Washington. Recipe by Jim Fobel, a food writer in New York City.