I love going down the ethnic aisle in the grocery store. There’s so much inspiration there. My latest grocery store endeavor left my pantry filled with the goodies I need to practice for my Cinco de Mayo festivities. Yea, I have a month to go but I need the practice. I want to make traditional Mexican dishes so I’m reaching out to some awesome Latin friends for those recipes.
I have a Latin background, with my father being Puerto Rican, but I want to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with true Mexican foods. I asked my friend, Julia, what some of her favorite foods were and the first thing she mentioned was tamales. I have never made tamales before, so when she told me it was a lot of work I kind of brushed it off. Let me just say, making homemade tamales is a lot of work!
I found everything I needed to make homemade tamales in the ethnic aisle. I even found a tamalera, which is basically a steamer used for cooking the tamales. It’s also great for seafood and canning – a nice investment I can be proud of. I also picked up a bag of tamale flour and just followed the directions on the back for that.
While the tamales did take a while to prepare and cook, the process wasn’t complicated. I’ll definitely be adding this to our Cinco de Mayo menu and hopefully bringing others in to help make them.
- 2 cups masa harina
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup shortening
- 1 pound pork tenderloin cooked
- 1 clove garlic diced
- 4 dried California chile pods
- 2 cups water
- 16 dried corn husks
- Set the corn husks in a bowl of warm water to re-hydrate them.
- Mix a tablespoon of stock and the shortening in a medium to large bowl. Mix in the masa harina, baking powder and salt. Continue adding stock until you get a sponge like dough. Set aside.
- De-seed and de-stem the chili pods. Simmer in a saucepan with 2 cups of water for 30 minutes. Allow to cool.
- Use a food processor or blender to puree the chilies and water. Strain and add the salt.
- Shred the cooked pork tenderloin in a large bowl and stir in the chili sauce.
- Remove the corn husks from the water and allow them to dry a bit. Spread them out and spread the dough on top, leaving a 1/4 inch space on the outer edges uncovered.
- Add a tablespoon of the meat mixture and spread it out a bit over the dough mixture. Fold the husks in, starting with the sides, and flip to close.
- Place the tamales in your steamer and allow to steam for 1 hour. Carefully unwrap the husks, remove the tamale and enjoy.