Friday, November 21, 2008


We have quite a few hispanic families in our ward, and at a recent Cooking Club activity, they were kind enough to teach us all how to make tamales! This was a totally new experience for me and a lot of fun. I especially liked the chicken ones. Here's how to make them:
Basic Tamale Ingredients:

Corn husks (Hojas – found in Latino Food section of Walmart)
Manteca (lard) or shortening
Tamale flour (Arina para tamales – found in Latino Food section of Walmart)

Corn Husk (Hojas) Preparation:

Soak in saltwater (with roughly ½ cup salt in 8 cups of water) for ½ hour, then wash husks until soft enough that the strands start to pull off. While soaking, begin preparing filling of your choice: verde, raja, or sweet.

Green Sauce (Salsa Verde):

10 tomatillos
1 jalapeno
1 garlic clove
5 chicken breasts
½ T. black pepper
salt to taste

Take off stems of tomatillos, jalapeno, and garlic. Boil these in water together until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain; puree in blender. Return to saucepan. Add in 5 cooked and shredded chicken breasts and ½ T. black pepper. Boil these together for 5 minutes.

Mix flour (arina para tamales) with water as directed on package to prepare for tamale filling. Cover lower half of soft corn husk with a thick layer of flour mixture, then add a spoonful of green chicken sauce. Roll the tamale and then fold the top down.

Raja Filling:

4 bell peppers
2 onions
3 garlic cloves
4 large tomatoes
1 container of queso fresco (Mexican cheese – found to the left above the cream cheese in Walmart)

Sauté bell peppers (your choice of color), onion, garlic, and tomatoes in light oil until soft. Cut the queso fresco into small rectangles, big enough to fit into half of a corn husk. As with green sauce, spread flour mixture on lower half of tamale. Place rectangle of queso fresco in the middle and spoon sautéed vegetable mixture on top. Roll tamale and fold top down.

Sweet Filling:

If you would like to make some dessert tamales, reserve some corn husks to soak in sugar water instead of saltwater. If desired, add red food coloring with flour mixture. After filling tamale with red flour mixture, add in crushed pineapple, raisins, craisins, cinnamon/apple, or whatever sounds good to you!

Steam tamales for 30-45 minutes, or until none of the filling sticks to the outer corn husk when gently pulled away. Enjoy!


i'm h.mac said...

YUMMY! i have been on a mexican kick lately and these will be just the trick!

Hillary said...

Hi ladies,

I am a finalist in the Marx Foods Comfort Food Recipe contest. And yes, I am shamelessly soliciting votes for my “Crab-a-Roni and Cheese” recipe from the foodie blogs I regularly read. I’d really appreciate your vote (only if you think my recipe looks worthy, of course)! Clicking on the link above and selecting my recipe should do it — thanks in advance!


Kristy said...

D- I'm excited you took so many pictures and I'm also excited to have the recipe. You and I may have to try and make these on our own one of these days. I learned how to make Empanadas at the Medical Partner's thing last week so we should have a Mexican night!