Tamales are one of those foods that transport you back to the streets of Mexico… all the sounds, smells and of course, the amazing flavors of traditional Mexican culture & cuisine!
To make this delicious Mexican street food, you will need dried corn husks, masa flour and whatever filling you enjoy most (shredded pork shoulder being the most popular in Mexico). The filling of cooked masa is steamed right inside the corn husk and then enjoyed with salsa or just on its own.
These tamales are indeed a labor of love, but if you want to put in the work, it will be well worth it. Making tamales is a great family activity in Mexico, so why not make this recipe with your entire family!
- 1 pack corn husks 8 oz
- 18 ounces pork shoulder or collar, cubed
- 4 pieces large dried ancho chilies
- 1 large onion halved
- 3 cloves garlic peeled
- 8 ounces lard
- 4 cups masa flour
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons cumin powder
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 lime
- Fill a large bowl with hot water and place in the corn husks to soak for 1 hour, while you prepare the other ingredients. You may need to place a heavy object on top of the husks because they will rise to the surface.
- Meanwhile, soak the ancho chilies in 2 cups of water for about 10 minutes until soft. When done, blend the softened ancho chillies with some water until you get a smooth paste.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add in the pork cubes and sear the meat until browned. Add the chopped onion and garlic and fry until the onions turn golden in colour (about 15 minutes).
- Add the chili paste made earlier to the meat, stir and cook together for 3 hours on low heat, until the meat chunks become tender enough that they pull apart easily using a fork.
- Whisk the lard with a hand or stand mixer until well aerated and fluffy.
- Add the masa flour to the lard, then the vegetable stock, salt, baking powder, salt and cumin and mix gently until well combined into a thin dough.
- Once well cooked, remove the pork from the heat and transfer to a tray. Using a fork, shred the meat.
- When the pork is cooked, remove it from heat, place it in a large tray, and shred the meat with a fork.
- Remove the husks from water and drain to remove the excess water.
- Time to assemble the tamales. Lay a corn husk on a clean surface. Spread a thin layer of the masa dough across the bottom 2/3 of the husk. The place a line of pork mix along the middle of the dough, in a line.
- Fold the sides of the husk inward to cover the filling then fold the bottom to close up the tamale. Repeat with the rest of the tamales.
- Stack the tamales vertically in a steamer basket or in a large pot with a steamer insert.
- If working with a pot, fill the pot up with water until just under the steamer basket. Steam the tamales for about 1 ½ to 2 hours or until they are cooked through and come off the husk easily.
- Rest the tamales for around 20 minutes.
- Serve hot with a wedge of lime and enjoy!
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