Tamale is a traditional Latin American dish. It is made with masa dough and different kinds of fillings. Masa is steam-cooked corn dough to which fats like fresh lard, butter or vegetable shortening, baking powder and salt are added. These ingredients are mixed with water or chicken broth, or sometimes, milk. The dough can be filled with cheese, meats, chicken, fish, beef, cooked eggs, pumpkin seeds, dry fruits, raisins, sliced chilies and various spices. The Tamale has it origins in Mexico (5000-8000 BCE). Aztec, Maya, Olmeca and Tolteneca civilizations used tamales as a portable food for their hunters, travelers and of course their armies.
Tamales in the United States
Tamales are the plural of Tamale and are the form of the word most often used. Tamales have become very popular in the United States. Tamales can be filled with beef or pork. Another is the popular grain filling. Tamales are popular as Christmas meals in the southwestern states of the United States. Basic modern southwestern Tamales contain spicy meat filling, usually pork, chicken or beef. Often it is served with a chili sauce. Tamales are a staple food along the Mississippi Delta, known locally as "Tamales calientes". It grew in popularity in the early 1900 when the Mexican farm workers introduced it on the black workers in the cotton fields in the deep South.
Things You Will Need
Ingredients for Tamale dough2 cups masa harina
2/3 cup lard
1 cup sour cream
1 can of beef broth
1 tsp baking powder
1 (8 oz) package dried corn husks
1/2 tsp salt
Ingredients for Tamale filling11/4 lb pork loin
4 dried California chili pods
1 clove garlic
1 large onion, halved
2 cups water
11/2 tsp salt
Step 1Put pork with garlic and onion in a skillet and add water. Bring it to boil and when it starts boiling reduce the heat. Simmer it for about 2-3 hours.
Step 2Put pork with garlic and onion in a skillet and add water. Bring it to boil and when it starts boiling reduce the heat. Simmer it for about 2-3 hours. In the mean time remove stems and seeds from the chili pods and place them in a saucepan. Add 2 cups of water and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool down. Put chili and water in a blender, until a paste is formed. Strain this mixture and add salt. Shred the cooked pork and add one cup of chili sauce. Mix 1-2 tablespoons of beef broth with the lard until it becomes fluffy. Mix together masa harina, salt and baking powder and add the lard mixture to it. Add more broth if required, to make a spongy dough.
Step 3To prepare for wrapping clean the corn husks and soak them in a bowl of warm water to make them soft. Spread the dough over the corn husks (thickness should be about 1/4 to 1/2 inches). Add 1 tablespoon of meat filling at the center. Fold the sides of husks towards the center and tie with a string. Place tamales into the steamer and allow them to cook for about 1 hour. Remove tamales from the husks and sprinkle the remaining chili sauce over them. Then add sour cream on the top.
Enjoy your meal!