The earliest tamales were simple. They were made with beans and squash and roasted over a fire. Europeans introduced meats and cheeses, but I like to keep ours pretty simple.
What I want to do here is offer you the MOST basic instructions to build your tamales, but YOU get to decide what you put inside!
Corn husks (soak these in water before wrapping)
Masa (you’ll notice the recipe on the box calls for pork lard. While you’re welcome to use it, you don’t need it for tasty tamales!)
Veggie broth (chicken broth if you’re so inclined)
This is where you get to be creative! Here are some we’ve made and loved:
- Black beans, peppers & cheese. (Vegan or regular depending on your dietary preferences.) Add adobo or taco seasoning. Don’t be shy with the cheese!
- Chile cheese. Simple and fantastic.
- Mushroom mole. I had an ex that cried when he tried mole. I can’t promise you tears, but I can promise you joy if you try a mushroom mole tamale.
- Slow cooked meat. (If you’re into that kind of thing.)
STEP 1: Make your fillings [while you…]
STEP 2: Soak your corn husks
STEP 3: Make your masa (follow instructions on box)
STEP 4: Construct your tamales!
- Lay husk on a flat surface vertically with the skinny side down.
- Spread masa on corn husk. Start at least an inch from the bottom. Spread almost to top and almost side to side. Consider how thick your spread your masa. I prefer not too thick. *Think about your masa-to-filling ratio and make them how you like them.
- Add your filling / sauce to the center of the masa
- Fold the corn husk in half vertically, one side and then the other. (The second side will overlap the masa on the first side. That’s cool.)
- Fold the bottom (skinny end) up to enclose that side of the tamale.
- Lay on folded side so it stays together. Or you can peel little strips off of one of your corn husks to create ties and tie your tamales together.
- That’s it!
Leave corn husk on. Put water in pot. Place them vertically in the steamer basket and stand with the open end up. (So water doesn’t get water into the tamale.) Lay them in a way that they won’t open up but also get to steam.
You can also use a dumpling steamer and lay them flat.
Bring to a boil before reducing the heat to medium. Steam for 30-40 min.
Enjoy with whatever you like (scoop of sour cream, cilantro, and olives are nice topper).
Take off corn husk and TOP with:
Vegan sour cream (or regular)
Pomegranate seeds (for a splash of color)
Enjoy with others and spread the love!