I made Tamales this Holiday Season....

I made home made tamales from the heart. I often cook special meals without measuring and just feeling my way through taste. This makes me a terrible cooking teacher. In this post I will try to share my way of making tamales. My parents were indigenous and their way of cooking is through love and taste. No measuring is involved in indigenous kitchens, just love. 
Masa for making Tamales 
I buy my masa from the local Mexican Market. I use about 20 lbs to make enough tamales for my family and to give away. I make about 100 of them with this amount of masa. This means the masa is spread lighty on a corn husk that has been soaking in water. 
The sauce is made with dried chiles found at any local store. They are boiled and then blended to make the sauce. California and Japoneses Chiles are the ones I use. Use one medium bag of  California Chiles and a handful of Japoneses Chiles. Japoneses chiles make it spicy. California chiles are mild. I add a small white onion, two cloves of garlic, chicken broth (about to a spoon and half), salt to taste, three cups of water and black pepper all blended together. Some Mexican's add pumpkin seeds to the sauce to add more flavor. Making the perfect sauce is an art. Here is where you taste it and more water add water. I usually use the water that the chiles were boiled in. Remember that you may have to do a few sauce batches because you are making sauce for pork and chicken tamales. 

The perfect sauce will not have any chile skin or seeds. Use the strainer to remove the pulp as well.  

(To add more flavor blend black pepper, salt and chicken stock into the sauce.) 
While you are making your sauce and cooking your chicken or pork the dry corn husk should be soaking in water. The corn husks will be used to spread the masa and meat(sauce mixed in). During the holidays some markets will have cooking demonstrations. Look for the signs in the store. 

Masa, Corn Husks, Chile Sauce with shredded Chicken
Cook the meat that you will be using in a separate pot. The meat will be shredded and the chile sauce will be mixed in for flavor. I used chicken for these tamales.  I shredded the chicken and mixed it with the sauce before adding it to the masa.  Spread the dough on the corn husk in a thin layer with a spoon and made sure it's evenly spread. Then add the chicken and sauce in moderation. Fold the corn husk like a burrito. Fold the bottom to make sure nothing falls out. Then stand them in a steam pot with the folded corn husk facing down. Once you have finished setting them in the steam pot cook on low heat. It is cooked through steam only. Be careful not to burn the bottoms. Once the corn husk burns, the smell sticks to the rest of the tamales. Keep an eye on the steam and cook time. Every stove and pot is different, so here you will have to check on the dough to make sure it is cooked. I usually cook them on the stove for an hour and half on slow. I let it rest in it's own steam for another 40 minutes before testing it to eat. The masa should look firm like the picture below. If it's still wet then you spread your masa a little to thick and it needs more time to cook. 
mexico tamales
Ready to eat

tamales americanos
Hot and Delicious Yummy Tamales.
Visit the Mexican Market to find the ingredients: Masa Prepared, California Dry Chiles, Corn Husks, chicken stock, fresh meat (pork, chicken or beef.)

Remember to try something new everything day and keep learning.

Wishing you a very Happy New Year!!!!