Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tamales Part 3: Assembly & Finale!

Finally! We have reached the last step - assembly. Now, that the filling, corn husks, and masa are ready, we just need to put everything together and steam the tamales.

Here's how I did it: Open the corn husk with the smooth side facing up,
Smooth side on top, and rough side on the bottom.

and place the masa on the bottom 2/3rds of it with the back of a spoon, leaving a 2-inch space to the left of the husk. Try not to add too much masa (I added a bit too much in the photo below, and this masa ended up looking different because I had added more masa harina to it).

Spread the masa over the husk (don't forget to leave space to the left of the husk, so it should be off-center) and then add the filling. You'll only need 1-2 Tbsp of filling for a large husk and 1/2-1 Tbsp for a smaller one. Make sure you center the filling in the middle of the MASA filling, NOT the center of the corn husk.

Fold or roll the husk around the filling starting from the right side or the side with the filling. Ensuring that the flap of the husk is facing up, fold the skinny tip of the husk over the base of the tamal.

Tie the tip to the base with a slivered section of a random husk (I picked out the small, torn husks out of the big batch and reserved them for this purpose). Tying the tamales is not mandatory, but it helps keep everything together while they sit in the steamer, and they look prettier, too.

Place the tamal in the steamer pot, and continue making the other tamales.

To add the rajas y queso filling, just do the same thing:

Once all the tamales are in the steamer, fill the bottom of the pot with about 2-4 cups of water. Place a few pennies at the bottom of the pot so that you know there is enough water down there (I found out that my pot makes its own noises when the water level is low; it was scary!). Once the water starts boiling, place the steamer pot in the main pot.

Cover the tamales with additional corn husks (this is when I use the husks that didn't fully hydrate during the soak) or aluminum foil, and cover. Steam the tamales on medium heat for 1-2 hours (it took 2 hours for me).

The filling should be pretty firm and dry, but not too dry. Also, when you unroll the tamal, most of the filling should no longer stick to the husk when fully unrolled.

Add leftover salsa verde to the undressed tamal...

...and enjoy!! YUM! ¡Buen provecho!

ALL GONE! Oh, there are more in the freezer!


  1. I just finished reading all your Tamales posts and I am giving you a standing ovation for the effort you put into the step-by-step photos!!! The Tamales look oh-so-yum! You're amazing!!

  2. Well done, Memoria. Way better than watching Emeril Live - he didn't have a clue. Pictures are excellent. Thank you.

  3. Ju - I love you virtually hahaha. You leave the most awesome, heartfelt comments. I really needed to read your thoughtful words. I worked really hard on this, but it was a very fulfilling project. I think worked harder on the posting than the making of the tamales haha.

    Sarah - Thank you so so much! I needed to hear your encouraging words as well. I've never seen Emeril make tamales haha. I know I still need to work on the masa a bit more, but the tamales still tasted fantastic.

  4. Thank you for that penny tip! I've pulled out so much hair fretting over whether there is enough water. Gorgeous pictures!

  5. Hello - I found your blog for the first time today via TasteSpotting. Love the step-by-step tutorial for tamales! And, your photos of the final product are just beautiful.

  6. AlphaAndy - Yeah, I forgot where I learned about that tip. Thanks so much for stopping by!

    Dawn - Aww, thanks so much. I'm glad you like the photos. I'm still trying to improve...

  7. Memoria... not only does this look like it would taste amazing, but your photography is stunning!! You could be in ANY magazine with these amazing photos!! Truly fantastic!


  8. oh, how I wish I could eat one tamal right now! :(

  9. Memoria,

    You hard work has certainly paid off and the tamales look so good! I don't think I have ever wanted tamales so badly until now. Can't wait to have you cook up a batch of these for me very soon, right?

    Your patience and dedication really comes through in your beautiful photographs and your attention to detail in your instructions!

  10. Just saw your blog from your link in your comment. THANK YOU for this post.

    Tamales were a holiday staple in my home and something I remember making with three generations of women (great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother) when I was younger. Unfortunately, that recipe never made it to me and now that those women are gone, I regret not knowing how. I've seen plenty of recipes, but yours looks great and is well accompanied with photos that make me feel like I'm right there.

    Adding you to my favorites list now! :)
    -Jess "the klutzy chef"

  11. I don't know how I missed all these posts! Bloglines isn't updating me on your posts :-(

    My family and I made about 35 dozen tamales this holiday. We soak them in hot eater but I never thought to put them in a pot of boiling water. duh! We'll have to try that next time around :-)

  12. This is something new to me....and very interesting Memoria! i wish i cld take a bite...you have such patience n dilgence..ur amazing!

  13. great instructions!
    I love tamales, but have never attempted to make them-I just might now :)
    luckily a friend make them and shares and there is a place not far that makes them and they will do for now.


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