Easy Tamales Recipe

Easy Tamales Recipe

Gather together with friends and family this holiday and have fun making these traditional tamales.

By: Enriqueta L.

I don't know what I like more, tamales or the "tamalada", the "fiesta" where family and friends get together to help make one of the most laborious and succulent dishes in Mexican gastronomy.

Because of how hard they are to make, homemade tamales are made for the holidays: from Thanksgiving, through the holidays and New Year’s, up to Candle Mass Day.

Just like making Venezuelan hallacas, Dominican tamales wrapped in banana leaves, and Puerto Rican pasteles which are wrapped in banana leaves, making the tamales or the "tamalada", is a family affair. Everyone participates by selecting dry corn husks, preparing them, stewing the beef for the filling, making the corn dough and putting the aforementioned tamales together.

During the "tamales" stories are told, traditions are reaffirmed, and usually drinks like "champurrado" are served. (Champurrado is a delicious Mexican hot chocolate made with spices and thickened with corn dough).

The yummiest part is the smell that impregnates the house and the satisfaction of knowing that all together we make the kitchen one huge party. Keep reading because today I'm sharing this recipe for pork tamales in red sauce by Yvette, one of my favorite Mexican-American bloggers.


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Pork tamales in red sauce
Makes 5 dozen tamales
Ingredients for the red sauce
8 oz. red peppers (California or New Mexico) dried, deveined, seeded, rinsed
6 cups water
6 tablespoons all-purpose flower
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon salt

Preparation of red sauce: Over medium heat, cook the peppers, covering them with water. Once the water starts boiling, lower the heat and cook on low heat for 20 minutes. Once the peppers are softened, strain them, drain them, and let cool. Throw the water out. In two batches, blend the peppers with water, flower, garlic, and salt. Strain in order to get rid of the skin and of the occasional seeds of the peppers. You may need to add a little more salt.

Ingredients for the pork meat
7-8 pounds of pork meat
2 1/2 cups of water
1 tablespoon salt

Preparation of the pork meat One day prior, place the meat, the water, and salt in a slow cooker and cook for 6 to 8 hours. Let it cool completely and shred the meat, removing the fat. Keep the liquid and the pork fat.

Ingredients for the pork filling
6 spoons of broth with pieces of cooked pork fat
3 tablespoons all-purpose flower
6 1/2 cups of red sauce
1 tablespoon salt

Preparation of pork filling: In a large and deep pan, on medium heat, warm the broth, add the flower, and mix constantly for about 5 minutes.
Add the red sauce and cook for 10 minutes until it thickens. Add the shredded pork meat and stir. Season with salt. Cook for another ten minutes and let it cool completely.

Ingredients for the dough:
2 pounds lard or shortening, separated
2 tablespoons baking flower, separated
2 tablespoons salt, separated
5 pounds of fresh dough (not prepared) separated
2-3 cups of pork broth (the liquid where the meat was cooked) or chicken broth, separated
1/2 red sauce, separated

Preparation of the dough:
Put half of the ingredients in the bowl of a hand mixer. Let the mixer do the work with the beater. The dough should be the consistency of peanut butter. You may need to add a bit more broth. To see if the dough is ready, put a teaspoon of dough in a bit of cold water. If it floats, that means it's ready. If not, it needs more fat. Knead and repeat the float test. Once the first batch of dough is ready, repeat the same thing with the second half of the ingredients. Cover the dough and keep it that way until it's time to put the tamales together.

Preparation of the leaves: Soak the leaves in water and rinse them in running water. Keep the wet until it's time to put the tamales together. At that time, place them in a colander to drain.

Putting together and cooking the tamales
Place the wide part of the corn husk in your cupped hand. Add two tablespoons of dough and use the same spoon to spread the dough, trying to leave a space of 2 inches of the husk with no dough. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling. Fold the edges on the sides of the husk towards the middle, and fold the lower part, and tie it with a strip of corn husk. Make sure that the tamales are sealed correctly; otherwise they'll fall apart in the steamer.

Put the tamales in the steamer with a little water on the bottom. Once the tamales are put together, cover the steamer and cook on medium heat until it boils, about 15 minutes. Lower the heat and cook on low heat for 2.5 - 3 hours. To see if the tamales are ready, take one out of the steamer and unwrap it. If the tamale slips off easily, it's ready to eat.

What other traditional holiday dish do you want to learn how to make?

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We used this recipe...other than spelling errors they turned out great for our first try at tamales.so I don't know if the spice measurements were fixed or whatever.

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These recepies are wonderful!

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fix the recipe

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Wrong recipe. there is no sugar in the tamales. And what about garlic and cumin for the red sauce? Please fix this recipe is incorrect

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