One Hot Tamale!

Bienvenido, loyal reader. Please come along as Bruce’s hot tamale, Mary, makes up a batch of home-made tamales, provecho!

Versalles 001First up Mary gets the boneless chicken breast that we bought at CarneMart (going for 66P/kg, right now) cooking in a chipotle broth. Mary figures she might as well get chicken soup out of the process, but that is a story for another day.

Versalles 004My only part in this whole process is shredding the chicken. In fact from here on out…Take it away, Mary!

Tamales 021And the fun begins! You can buy hojas de plátano, banana leaves at Ley or at the Emiliano Zapata Mercado. Cut off the tough stems, and rough edges to make a square sheet about 10-12 inches. Take the sheet and pass it over a flame until it shines. This softens the leaf making it easier to roll into tamales. Set these aside and move on to the next step…

Tamales 011Fire-roasting the peppers. Using the gas grill, this is pretty slick and the aroma is incredible! I chose Poblano, Jalapeño and Habanero peppers for these tamales.

Tamales 013Now I am scraping off and discarding the burned outer skin of the peppers. You can run them under the faucet to make it easier to get all the charred bits off.

Tamales 014Next I cut the rinsed, de-seeded (I’m not completely crazy) peppers into rajas, strips

Tamales 017Now it’s time to mix up the tamale dough. I searched high and low for a recipe that doesn’t use lard and found this one which works great: 2Cups Masa Harina; 1-1/2 tsp. salt; 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder. Measure these into a large bowl and stir to combine. Add 5-1/2 TBSP vegetable oil, incorporating it into the dry ingredients until a very thick batter forms, then add 1-1/4 Cups broth (here you could use some of the broth from poaching the chicken) or water (I have always used water, works fine) until it is the consistency of thick peanut butter. Take a look at this video, I watch it every time I make tamales.

Tamales 019Adding the oil, all at once, then mixing in.

Tamales 026Put a ball of the masa dough, about the size of a billiard ball, in the center of a banana leaf.

Tamales 027Using a piece of waxed paper (in the video above, the woman uses plastic wrap, either one works) flatten out the ball of dough into a circle.

Tamales 029Remove the waxed paper, and add your ingredients. For some of the tamales I use shredded chicken, chopped white onions, rajas and cheese. I use black beans, chopped onion, rajas, and cheese in the veggie tamales.

Tamales 030Fold the banana leaf over twice…

Tamales 031Then tuck up the ends, enclosing the whole tamale in the banana leaf.

Tamales 032to look like this.

Tamales 033Place them in a steamer, which is filled with about 2″ of water. As you can clearly see, this is not a steamer. I have a Dutch Oven with a trivet that I am using as a steamer. Totally unconventional, and I would be laughed out of any Mexican kitchen, but it works. Somehow.

Tamales 034I can usually get about 12 tamales out of this recipe. That works really well considering that is all this “steamer” will hold.

Tamales 036Put the kettle on a burner, and let it steam for about 2 hours over a low flame. I add a little water to the pot after about 45 min., and just keep checking so it doesn’t boil away.

Tamales 039And here it is! When cool, these tamales are very easily stored in the fridge, 0r even frozen. They keep in the fridge for a week, and heat up beautifully in the microwave. Here Bruce is having lunch, pairing a tamale with our veggie bake, plus some quinoa and topping it all with sunflower seeds. You must use Valentina Salsa Picante with these tamales, I think it may be a law! Muy sabrosa!

Thanks for visiting, gentle reader. Bruce and Mary love comentarios, so please feel free. Hasta Proximo Domingo!


December 21, 2014 · Bruce · 20 Comments
Posted in: Life in Puerto Vallarta