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Thread: Help with Tamales

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Medway, MA

    Help with Tamales

    So I have been working on my Christmas Eve menu. I think I have a new tradition that I would like to include. My daughter was born in Guatemala and we are trying to incorporate some of the Guatemalan customs and traditions. One of these is Christmas Tamales. So I am going to make an attempt to make Tamales. I have a recipe, but here is the dilemma...

    I would like to make everything ahead of time (the day before - because my jerk of a boss won't let me take Christmas Eve day off of work - even though I have over 10 vacation days left...but this is another topic for another time). Anyway....I am wondering if anyone on the BB has made Tamales. Can I reheat them.... How should I reheat them...and Do you have any advice on making them?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Near Fresno, CA
    Tamales are definitely reheatable and freeze quite well. We've made them in the past and bought them from a local church group. One way to reheat is to lightly steam them again. Personally I put them in the microwave on med temp wrapped in a paper towel. tamales!!

    "One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries."

    A.A. Milne

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    central california
    We like to have tamales on Christmas Eve. When I make them (I am no expert and have not been totally thrilled with the recipes I have tried) I freeze them after putting them together and just thaw and steam before eating. I don't cook them at all before I freeze them. My rice cooker has a steamer rack which works perfectly. This year we are going out for tamales on Christmas Eve. Easy for me! -sarah
    "Always serve too much hot fudge sauce on hot fudge sundaes. It makes people overjoyed, and puts them in your debt."
    Judith Olney

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Albuquerque, NM
    Tamales are totally my favorite Mexican food.

    Do you live in an area where they sell prepared masa for tamales? They have it in our grocery stores here, in the meat section, but I imagine that is just because this is the Southwest I highly recommend the prepared masa over grinding the hominy yourself, if you can find it. Of course, I always just buy my tamales (green chile and cheese, please) pre-made from one of the gajillion Mexican restaurants around here that sell them at Christmastime. In NM (at least in the southern part, where I grew up) the tradition is to eat tamales and posole or menudo on Christmas Eve before you go to Midnight Mass.

    To reheat the tamales, I usually put them in a stackable steamer, if I'm not in a hurry. They come out a little moister that way, but it takes longer. Otherwise, wrap them in a damp paper towel and throw them in the microwave, as swquilts suggested.

    Yummy yummy! Are you going with a pork filling or something a little less traditional?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Medway, MA
    I'm actually not sure on the ingredients. There are several Latin American markets in the area. So I am hoping that between them or maybe whole foods I can find what I need.

    Below is the recipe that I was going to try. The thing is that it calls for steaming for an hour. I am hoping to cut down this amount of time. That was why I was trying to think of a way to reheat the night of.

    Also, this maybe crazy. But I am wondering about steaming in the crockpot. I'm thinking that I could start the steam while we are at church (with a timer) then I wouldn't need to worry about the 1 hour. Has anyone tried that?


    Christmas Tamales

    (18 servings)

    18 dried corn husks
    1 cup masa harina (try gourmet stores)
    1/2 tsp. baking powder
    1 cup shoe peg corn -- cooked and drained
    1/3 cup vegetable oil
    1 cup Monterey Jack cheese -- shredded
    1/2 cup green chile -- chopped
    1/4 cup pimentos -- chopped
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. cumin
    1 Tbsp. cilantro -- finely chopped

    Soak dried corn husks in warm water for an hour before using; drain and trim squate. Mix rest of ingredients together and blend well. The dough will be sticky. Divide dough equally and place into the center of each corn husk. Fold the two sides of the husk into the middle, then fold in the top and bottom.

    Stand tamales, on end, on a rack in steamer, over approximately an inch of hot water. Cover and steam over medium heat for 1 hour., adding more water if necessary.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    I would suggest steaming them the night before because you may need to add more water during the steaming especially if you use a crockpot (I don't think you can get enough water to last the hour or so). Then you can reheat in the oven the next night at 300º, the tamales can be lying flat at this point covered tightly with foil.

    Also when you are steaming them it's a good idea to use extra corn husks (hojas) over the top of the tamales so the condensation doesn't soak the tops making them mushy. You can also use a tea towel. And if doing them in the crockpot add boiling water or you'll be cooking them a long, long time!
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    redding, ca usa
    I made these a few years a go and again last week - they are in my freezer now. I am serving them Christmas also. They are yummy. I do remember they took a lot longer to steam than the 12 minutes.

    good luck

    Mama Totota's Tamales
    From Cooking Light

    14 large dried cornhusks

    1 pound pork tenderloin
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
    1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon paprika
    Cooking spray
    1 cup chopped onion

    3 cups masa harina
    1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 cups water
    2 teaspoons vegetable oil

    Place cornhusks in a large bowl of hot water; weigh down husks with another bowl. Soak for at least 30 minutes. Drain husks; rinse with cold water. Drain and pat dry.
    Tear 2 cornhusks lengthwise into 12 (1/2-inch-wide) strips (6 strips per husk).

    Preheat oven to 400°.

    To prepare filling, trim fat from pork. Combine the cumin and the next 4 ingredients (cumin through paprika); rub pork with 2 1/4 teaspoons cumin mixture. Place pork on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; insert a meat thermometer into pork. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until thermometer registers 155°. Cover pork loosely with foil; let stand 10 minutes. Cut pork in half crosswise; shred with 2 forks.

    Heat a small nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Combine pork, onion, and 2 1/4 teaspoons cumin mixture.

    To prepare dough, combine masa harina, paprika, and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add water and oil, stirring to form a soft dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 4 to 5 times. Divide dough into 12 equal portions. Working with 1 portion, place dough in the center of 1 husk. Press the dough into a 4 x 2 1/2-inch rectangle, leaving about a 1 1/2-inch border at the tapered end and a 1-inch border at the broad end. Arrange about 1/4 cup filling down center of dough. Take 1 long side of husk, and roll dough around filling, making sure dough seals around filling. Tie 1 husk strip around tapered end of husk to secure it. Trim all but about 1/2 inch excess cornhusk from broad end. Repeat procedure with remaining husks, dough, and pork mixture.

    Arrange tamales in steamer, and cover with steamer lid. Add water to a large skillet to a depth of 1 inch; bring to a boil. Place steamer in pan; steam half of tamales for 12 minutes or until the husks peel away cleanly. Remove tamales from steamer. Repeat procedure with remaining tamales.

    Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 2 tamales)

    CALORIES 344 (19% from fat); FAT 7.4g (sat 1.7g, mono 2.5g, poly 2.5g); PROTEIN 23.1g; CARB 45.9g; FIBER 2g; CHOL 56mg; IRON 6.3mg; SODIUM 638mg; CALC 144mg;

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Tamales are my fave Mexican food, too! I always ordered the pork tamales at my all-time favorite Mexican restaurant in Kansas City, La Cocina del Puerco. Unfortunately we have not found anything like them here in Kentucky

    Good luck, Maura. I think tamale-making on Christmas Eve sounds like a very cool tradition

    Let us know how it goes!

    Mom To:
    Ally 03/31/1994
    Juliet 03/15/2005
    Jake 10/14/2006

    the self-portrait project

  9. #9
    Shana! Another fan of La Cocina del Puerco! We have been going there since about the food.

    Unfortunately, the cleanliness of the place became an issue and I had to quit going. Sure, you could say it's atmosphere, but it really got just plain dirty for a while there....

    My favorite: Pork Quesadilla

    "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Eleanor Roosevelt

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Medway, MA
    I just wanted to thank everyone for their help with the Tamales.

    I did make them for Christmas eve and they came out great. They were a big hit. I didn't tell anyone in my family that I was making them in case they didn't come out well.

    Then the funny thing was when we were having our salad my mom was talking about when she lived in Texas. Then she starts to talk about how she loved the food in Texas and that her favorite were Tamales. It was so funny, because about 5 mins later I come over to the table with a platter full of Tamales. She was so surprised and excited she actually started to cry.

    Anyway..... the meal was AWESOME! Thanks again. Also thanks to the BB for the great Orange Cumin beef stew. This was Fantastic!!!


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Medway, MA

    Really weird....

    I added a reply to this earlier in the week. But when I looked it it, it didn't show up. So today I went to added the reply again, and this time the first one was there...

    something is really weird. anyone else see something funny like this?


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