Tamales Take Practice, Flavor And Love
You could say this recipe is a hybrid. In this guest recipe my sister used our traditional tamale recipe but swapped out a few ingredients for slightly healthier ones.
The reason I say it’s sorta healthy is because she used coconut oil instead of “manteca” or lard. Gather the family, this is a perfect time to gossip or catch up with each other while spreading the masa on the corn husks.
- Dried Corn Husks
- Baking Powder
- Blue Corn Masa Mix
- Chicken Broth
- Coconut Oil
- Canola Oil
- Chile Ancho
- Chile Cascabel
It’s All About The Broth
Grab a pot and place the chicken, water, garlic, onion and some salt to cook. It’s better to use chicken with the bone in. It’s more flavorful than boneless. While the chicken is cooking prep the chile.
Toast The Chiles
After toasting the 2 different chiles on the comal soak them in cold water. One adds the spicy flavor and the other a bright red color but I forgot which one does which.
Hydrate The Corn Husks
Put the corn husks in a large container with water. You want them to be soft and pliable.
Pull The Chicken Apart
Once the chicken is done separate from broth and pull apart. Careful it will be hot.
Blend The Chile
After removing the stems from the soaking chiles place them in the blender with garlic, a dash of cumin, salt and some of the chicken broth.
Heat The Specified Chile Pan
In our family we reserve a special pan that we use just for dishes that involve chile. The reason is “Carraspera.” This is that uncontrollable cough that happens when the chile is being fried.
Pour a small amount of canola oil and fry the chicken and chile in the pan. Stir, mix and make sure there is good ventilation in the room. The chile smell will be strong.
Mix The Masa
Now comes the fun part. Mix the blue corn mix, a teaspoon of baking powder, about 3 large spoonfuls of coconut oil, broth, and salt to taste.
Mix and mash with hands for a good 5 minutes. A good consistency wont stick to the bowl if it does add some more blue corn. If it’s too dry there will be several cracks and you should add a bit more broth.
Spread The Masa
This part might be the most difficult of tamale making. Grab a corn husk leaf and place it in the palm of your hand. Using a large mostly flat spoon grab the masa and begin spreading across. Try to distribute it evenly across.
Before I forget make sure you place the masa on the smooth side of the leaf. One side will have small ridges you can usually tell by feeling it or looking up closely.
Fill Them Up And Pack Everything In
Fill the tamales with the chile and chicken mix. Fold the sides over and then the top. I love how our specified chile pan has no handle.
Stack the tamales in a steamer with the open part facing upwards. Try to make a teepee shape when stacking.
My sister used a pressure cooker but you can use anything that will steam them. Depending on how many are being cooked it could take an hour or two.
We cooked about a dozen and they were done in about a hour and a half. You’ll know they’re done when the husk peels away from the masa. If it sticks leave it on there a little longer.