Monday, January 4, 2010

Tamales Part 2: Masa (RECIPE REVISED!) and Corn Husks

Okay, let's move on to part 2 of the series. Yesterday, I posted about the filling I used: salsa verde con pollo. Today, I will share with you all how I soaked the corn husks and made the masa.

Corn Husks: (printable version)
You can buy these husks at most stores, especially around the holidays. I've seen them at Wal-mart and at some regular grocery stores. They come in a large bag. Here is a photo of them fresh out of the bag. Aren't they photogenic?
Place the husks in a large pot of boiling water. They will not all fit without a bit of coaxing. So, try to submerge all of them in the water.

While they're soaking, work on the masa:

Masa for tamales REVISED!!:
2 cups of masa harina (Maseca is a popular brand and is the one I used)
1 tsp salt (I used kosher)
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups of reserved chicken broth (remember that broth from yesterday?)
2/3 cups of manteca or lard (you can render your own or get freshly-rendered lard from a grocery specializing in Latin-American products. They have less fat than butter.)

Place and mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl or mixer.

Pour in the broth until the mixture starts to look pie dough with too much water, or like the photo below. The mixture should not be watery at this point!

With another mixer or by hand, beat the lard (or manteca) until it reaches a lighter consistency. This step is optional, but I tried it out to see what would happen.

Pour the manteca (that word sounds better in Spanish, doesn't it?) into the masa mixture until the it looks like thick cake batter.

I had to later adjust the below mixture by adding more masa harina (I started with 2 1/2 cups of masa instead of what I posted above), so the batter or masa should look a bit thicker than this.

Now you're done with the masa!

Back to the corn husks:

After 1 to 2 hours, take the husks out with tongs. Then, place them in a large open container for easy assembly. If some of them are not completely soaked (i.e., there are dry spots), use those later for when you steam the tamales). (Can you tell I live in graduate-student housing? :D)

Now that the filling, masa, and corn husks are ready, we can move on to the assembly process....tomorrow. Then, we can eat them gleefully! :)


  1. I didn't realize that you have to steam the husks that long. Lookin' good.

  2. Hi Memoria. I have been travelling for the last few weeks but I am now catching up on all your posts! You have made some amazingly delicious food! These tamales look fantastic. I will definitely try them when I have some time. You make it look very simple!

  3. Sarah - I had to steam mine for only one hour.

    msmeanie - I hope you had a great trip!! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Great photos and I love tamales. It was funny but I went to foodgawker to look for tamale recipes. Then I glanced at the first page and your part three tamale series was there, it must be serendipity!


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