2 lbs masa, course ground*
1 lb lard (or butter for vegetarian), room temperature.
1 tbsp kosher salt (or 1 1/2 tsp fine salt)

If you want to go traditional, a 50/50 ratio on fat and lard.  That’s too much for me.  That’s 14g of fat per tiny tamale.

I blend them together with my hands.  Go on.  Get in there.  You’re going to use your fingers to spread it out anyway.


Soak the corn husks in water.  You could do this with banana leaves maybe, but my Mexican grocery store sells giant bags of corn husks for five bucks.

I use a cookie scoop to portion out the right amount, but about 2 tablespoons would do it.  Spread it out on the corn husk, using your fingers, wetting them slightly if the masa is sticking.

Resist the urge to overfill.  About 2 teaspoons will do it.

Right in the center in an oblong shape.  I like chorizo because it packs a lot of flavor in small amounts, but I still added some salsa roja to these.  Any combination will do – pork and salsa verde, pork and roja, beans and chorizo, chorizo and roja, etc.  As long as you don’t overfill it you can’t really go wrong.  You need to get the masa wrapped around the fillings.  So you bring up the sides of the husks and press until the masa encloses the fillings –

then you lay down the tamale and roll it like an ah…erm..cigarette?

Then fold the flap under.  If you want to be fancy, you can tear a strip off of one of the corn husks and wrap it like a present.

I have a tamale steamer which is a giant pot fitted with its own steamer insert

If you don’t have a tamale steamer…because I know how prevalent those are in the average American home…then a normal steamer insert in a pot will do.  But this guy is highly convenient and I got him for $15 in a bodega on Cermak.  Well worth the investment, and I can do a couple dozen at a time.

About a half hour or so.  Just until the masa firms up.  I check by tasting one.

These freeze great (obviously or I wouldn’t have made 10 dozen) but they’re best right out of the steamer with a little salsa.

*If you don’t have access to fresh masa, you can make tamales with maseca by combining it in equal parts maseca with chicken or vegetable stock and subbing that in the recipe for the masa.


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