Saturday, December 22, 2012

Holiday Tradition: Tamales. Part One. Prep

One of the holiday traditions that has been passed down in my family has been the making of tamales. There are several ways to make tamales. Here is the way I was taught from my mother, who made her own adaptation from the teachings of my fathers mother. Lets just focus on the prep for this post. Then we will move on to the making part!

Here are the items you will need to make tamales:

Any corn husk packet will do for making tamales. However, if you want to save a bit of time, I would spend the extra dollar or two and get the cleaned version.  See below how there is no soot or corn silk in the husks.

Plug your sink and fill with hot water. Place your corn husks in there are let them soak for about 30 minutes. You make need to plunge them into the water every now and then. This is the make your husks pliable for tamale wrapping.

Once they are ready. Wring them out of as much water as you can and set aside in a tray.

Next you will need masa

Now you can make this beautiful stuff from scratch, but that is for a different post. today we are going to buy it. Here in my town, masa preparada goes for about 75 cents a pound. HUGE time-saver! Just go to your nearest Mexican bakery. If you don't have one I will show you how to make it from scratch in another post.

For meat based tamales you are also going to need anise tea.

This is anise seed. You can get it for cheap at almost any grocery store.

Just place the whole bag in about 3-4 cups of water and set the pot to boil. Once boiled, set to a medium/low temp and let stew for about 10 minutes.

Once done, strain out the seeds and your left with anise tea. This tea has the aroma of black licorice. Trust want to add this to your masa!

Next we will get out masa ready for making tamales!

For every five pounds of masa, you are going to add one cup of anise tea.

Mix well into the masa.

When you are done you will have a light paste consistency. Perfect for easy spreading. You will also have the anise tea incorporated. This compliments the chicken and pork fillings, which I prefer to the beef tamales.

Other ingredients not shown:

Tomatillo Sauce (Tutorial can be found here)

Shredded chicken from 1-2 whole chickens
(I usually pick up 1-2 rotisserie chickens and shred them to save me time)

Shredded pork (From your crock pot)

Once you have all your prep done. Set up your assembly line!

My next post will be on making the tamales!

Buen Provecho!

~Misguided Maiden

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