How to make Tamales, traditional Mexican dish


Tamales are a traditional Mexican dish made of masa (a dough made from corn), filled with various ingredients, and wrapped in corn husks. They are then steamed until cooked through. Tamales can be filled with meats, cheeses, vegetables, or a combination of ingredients. Here's an overview of the ingredients and the cooking process for making tamales:

For the masa dough:
- 4 cups masa harina (corn masa flour)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable shortening or lard
- 3-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (warmed)

For the filling (choose one or create a variety):
- Shredded cooked chicken or pork
- Cheese (such as Monterey Jack, queso fresco, or cheddar)
- Roasted vegetables (such as bell peppers, onions, and corn)

For assembling:
- Dried corn husks, soaked in warm water for about 30 minutes and drained
- Optional: Salsa or hot sauce for serving

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the masa harina, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.
2. Add the vegetable shortening or lard to the dry ingredients. Use your hands or a mixer to incorporate the fat into the masa until it resembles coarse crumbs.
3. Gradually pour in the warm chicken or vegetable broth, starting with 3 cups. Mix well until the dough comes together and has a soft and spreadable consistency. If needed, add more broth, a little at a time, until the desired consistency is achieved. The dough should be moist but not too wet or dry.
4. Cover the masa dough with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop and the dough to hydrate.
5. While the dough is resting, prepare the filling. Cook and shred the chicken or pork if using. Grate the cheese or prepare the roasted vegetables.
6. To assemble the tamales, take a soaked corn husk and spread a thin layer of the masa dough onto it, leaving about 1 inch of space at the top and bottom of the husk.
7. Place a spoonful of the filling (such as shredded chicken or pork, cheese, or roasted vegetables) in the center of the masa dough.
8. Fold the sides of the corn husk over the filling, then fold the bottom end up, enclosing the filling. Secure the tamale by tying a strip of soaked corn husk around it or using kitchen twine.
9. Repeat the process until all the masa dough and filling are used, making multiple tamales.
10. Prepare a large steamer or tamale pot with water. Place a steamer basket or a layer of extra corn husks at the bottom to prevent the tamales from sticking.
11. Arrange the tamales upright in the steamer, with the open end facing up. Make sure they are tightly packed to prevent them from unraveling during cooking.
12. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and steam the tamales over medium heat for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the masa is cooked through and firm.
13. Check the tamales for doneness by removing one and testing the masa. It should be cooked and not sticky or doughy.
14. Once cooked, remove the tamales from the steamer and let them cool slightly before unwrapping.
15. Serve the tamales warm with salsa or hot sauce if desired.

Note: Tamales are a labor-intensive dish, so it is common to make them in large batches. They can be frozen and