Wednesday, August 27, 2008


That is what my husband said upon tasting my tamales. You see I have these PROLIFIC Hungarian peppers growing out back. I said to myself, "Self, get your butt in the back and pick those peppers, gather all the ones in the fridge and roast away." I thought that was a good idea (of course I know your thinking that you need to call the guys with the straight jacket). But hey talking to yourself is normal. Talking to the other selves with in your own mind is a whole 'nother story. Anway, the roasted peppers were mild when I tasted them, for the most part. I added capers and chopped turkey to the mix. I know capers aren't exactly Mexican traditional but they seemed right at the time, and really they were.
Now, you may think this is a little crazy too but I have been wanting to make tamales for about twelve years now. I have been so afraid to do so. It's funny because I think the L'Opera cake from Daring Bakers was much harder than this. These tamales were actually quite easy. They also had that "mud pie" factor going on. Put your hands in the bowl and mix up that masa, then add the lard. Mix that up with your hands. What fun! What? Yes, I said lard. I purchased the real lard for these bad boys. Now when you think about it, the ratio goes something like this. 3/4 cup of lard to 3 cups of flour. Is that any worse than butter in a cake? No. Not to mention that lard has less saturated fat than butter. And that amount makes quite a bit. Just have one, you can freeze the rest. They freeze very well.
I highly recommend quartering the amount of the recipe. Unless you are making them for a bunch of people. A quarter of this recipe is plenty for a family of four with some left over to freeze. Make them, you will so enjoy them. They are so worth it. Don't be like me and wait twelve years to do it.

Thank you Debyi of Healthy Vegan Kitchen for picking this fine recipe. You gave me the initiative to finally do it!

Here is the link to get all the recipes and possible fillings (although the possibilities are endless for the fillings. You can even go sweet.) Go and check out the other tamales that people are cooking up on Recipes to Rival!

I did include the halved basic tamale dough recipe here. You can check for the whole enchilada, I mean tamale (recipes and pics), on The Recipes to Rival blog. We have so many talented individuals in our group. Check them out for inspiration!

Basic Tamale Recipe by Chef Jason Wyrick of The Vegan Culinary Experience – Education, Inspiration, Quality *
Type: Main Dish Serves: 24 Time to Prepare: 1hour
(mine was not Vegan- sorry)

6 cups of masa harina flour
5 cups of water (I used turkey broth)
1/2 tbsp. of salt
11/2 cups of lard
24 dried corn husks
Water to soak the husks
1/2 tbsp. of baking powder

1. Warm the stock. Combine the masa harina flour with the salt and baking powder. Stir the lard rapidly until it is creamy.
2. Pour the stock into the masa mix and stir until it is thoroughly combined. Beat the moist masa mix into the shortening until you have a paste that will spread with a knife without breaking apart. You should end up with a semi-thick paste. If you do not have this, you can add more stock in ¼ cup amounts to the mix until you have the right consistency.
3. To check the consistency, spread the masa on a corn husk and if it spreads easily while staying together, you have the right consistency.
4. Soak the corn husks for at least 2 minutes. (Some husks may still have the silks in them, make sure you remove them before using)
5. Spread masa paste over the top half of a corn husk (the top half is the wide half.) Spoon a line of your filling of choice in a line on one side of the masa paste. Roll the tamale from the filling side to the other side. You will end up with one half of the roll that has masa paste and one that does not. Fold the half that does not have the masa paste against the tamale, folding it in towards the flap of the roll.
6. Repeat this process with the rest of the ingredients.
7. Steam the tamales for 35 to 45 minutes, depending on how large you make them. If you have a lot of tamales and a tall steamer, you can place the tamales vertically in the steamer.

Stock to steam by:

I used a little turkey broth that I had left over and added two cloves of garlic.


kat said...

Your filling sounds really good. & I didn't even think of steaming in stock, duh! I love how you tied your tamales closed. Thanks for hosting!

Temperance said...

Your spouse responce sounds much better than mine. :) I would never have thought of using capers but they sounds good.

Maria said...

I really want to try these after seeing everyone's gorgeous tamales! Nice work!!

Debyi said...

Your tamales look great, I love how you tied the husks. Your filling sounds a little like a spicy turkey piccada, in my omni days, I loved making that. It sounds like it would make an awesome tamale filling. It was great hosting with you!

Heather B said...

I love your filling! Great job! They look delicious!

maybelle's mom said...

wow, great use of capers.

chrismacd1 said...

Love your choice of filling, you did make one Hot Tamale but they look so good!

Kevin said...

Those tamales look good!

jen said...

I thought L'Opera was harder than tamales too!! How funny. :)
You did a great job! weren't they oh so yummy?

Grace said...

12 years, eh? i'd say it was definitely time for you to conquer the tamale, and it looks like that's exactly what you did. bravo! my lazy bum shall continue to eat tamales made by other folks. :)

JMom said...

I've been procrastinating about making tamales too. Probably as long as you have. :) Now that I've done this challenge I'll be sure to make it again. My husband loved these and was glad to find out we still had some in the freezer. LOL!
JMom ~ Cooked from the Heart

Lauren said...

your filling sounds really interesting- how great that you used your own produce

Robyn said...

I like your idea of using flavored broth to steam your tamales.