HOTLINE: Saturday, Dec. 22

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It’s Tamale Season, and for those of you who prefer the tamale-making traditions at home with your family, follow this simple recipe to make your own mouth-watering tamales in your own kitchen. And don’t forget, La Tolteca offers all the ingredients you need to make your tamales all year-round! For those who prefer to purchase their tamales already made, hot and ready to go, La Tolteca offers 7 different tamale varieties, including dessert tamales…let the tamale making begin!

Tamale Equipment List: large capacity steamer, measuring cup, tongs, measuring spoons, and a masa spreader (all available at La Tolteca)

Tamale Shopping List: to make it super simple, La Tolteca offers cooked meat for your tamale fillings. You can choose from popular meat fillings such as pork, beef or chicken – depending on what flavor tamales you prefer. Quantity of meat depends on how many tamales you’ll be making - usually 6-8 pounds of meat will prepare 3-4 dozen tamales… (Any of these meats can easily be shredded with your fingers – After adding the spices and seasonings below, your meat should remain in the refrigerator until you are ready to make the tamales.)

Spices & Seasonings: 3 tbsp Garlic powder, 6 tbsp Chili powder, 3 tbsp Ground Cumino (Cumin), ½ cup Corn Oil, 1 tbsp Black Pepper, 2 tbsp Salt – Mix the oil and seasonings in a small pan and warm on the stove. Do not cook the oil and seasonings mix, but just gently warm on the stove.  When the oil and seasonings mix is warm, pour over the shredded meat and mix with your hands until it is completely distributed through the meat. It takes a good 10 minutes to get the mixture completely mixed throughout.

Tamale Masa: La Tolteca grinds all their own corn onsite, for the most flavorful tamale corn masa – and more importantly, they offer already prepared masa! Meaning you don’t have to go through all the fuss of making your own masa, which will save you lots of time…La Tolteca offers the traditional white masa or the red chili masa – both delicious and packed with flavor – all prepared and ready for spreading on your corn husks!

Prepare your Corn Husks: La Tolteca offers corn husks packaged and ready for soaking…you’ll want to soak your corn husks in a sink full of warm water for about 2 hours. You will need to carefully separate them when they get soft. Try not to tear the husks, as it’s easier to make the tamales if the husks are in one piece. After your corn husks are soft, take them out of the water, shake them off and lay them on the counter on a towel.

Building your Tamales:  And now the fun part of building your tamales!

•    Pick up the corn husk and lay it across the palm of your hand with the small end towards your fingers – scoop about ½ cup of the masa dough with a spatula (the masa spreaders are great to use for this!) Spread about 2/3 of the husk on the left hand side with your masa, leaving about 1/3 on the right uncovered. Similarly, spread the bottom 2/3 of the husk with your masa, and leave the top 1/3 uncovered (you need to leave the top and side uncovered so you can fold it later…) you can lay them on the counter as you spread your masa on the next full corn husk, usually 5-10 at a time.
•    When you’ve covered 5-10 husks with masa, go ahead and start filling those up with your meat mixture. Take about 2 tbsp of meat and lay it on your corn husk with masa, about 1 inch from the left edge.
•    Starting on the left side (the side where the Masa dough goes all the way to the edge), roll the tamale all the way to the right edge. Now, fold the top of the husk over like an envelope and lay tamale on the counter with the fold on the underside. Roll the next one the same until all your husks with masa on them are rolled. Continue this process until all your tamales are built…

Cooking your Tamales:

•    To cook the tamales, you need a very large pot that has something in the bottom to keep the tamales out of the water while they steam. Add about 3 pints of water to the pot, then start stacking the tamales upright until full. The envelope end of the tamale will be on the bottom, the open end of the tamale should be on top…Continue to fill the pot.  The tamales need to pack tight enough that they do not fall over and begin to unfold.
•    Cover the pot, and bring the water to a boil and then reduce heat to medium low and cook for at least 2 hours. Check water several times and add more if it is getting low, you DON’T want to boil it dry - add more water as you need to.
•    When done, take one tamale out and leave it on the counter for about 5 minutes to test. Unwrap it and it should be firm, with no raw masa. When done, remove all the tamales and let them cool on the counter… (note: if you’re planning on freezing your tamales, they will stay for up to a year in the freezer if you use zip lock bags.)

Congratulations! You are now a proud tamale chef! Remember that La Tolteca proudly offers you every ingredient you’ll need to make your tamales this holiday season...and don’t forget we also offer already made tamales from our 7 different delicious varieties!