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Learn How To Make Authentic Mexican Tamales

A by-product of corn used for wrapping

If you’re eager to try authentic Mexican food, you should consider ordering tamales from Texas Lone Star Tamales.Tamales are a traditional Latin and Mexican cuisine that can be enjoyed by virtually anybody. While tamales only require a few ingredients to make, the possibilities for flavor are endless.

If you’re thinking about making your own chicken or vegetarian tamales at home, we’re here to help you get started.

Tamale 101

If you’re brand new to the world of traditional Mexican food, you may be wondering how to make your own tamales at home. The first thing to do is to make sure you have all of the ingredients and kitchen equipment to get started. While making tamales at home is not very difficult, the process can be a bit time consuming. Realistically, it can take up to an entire day to prepare a large batch of tamales from start to finish, so make sure to clear your calendar.

Let’s take a look at some of the ingredients you’ll need to make your own authentic tamales.

3 red tomatos with 2 tamales

Masa or Masa Harina

Most major grocery store chains in the United States offer ready-made dough for tamales. If you’d prefer to make your own dough, you’ll need to pick up some masa harina. This is a commercial corn flour product that is used to make tamales, tortillas, and other Mexican foods. Here’s what you’ll need to make masa:

  • 6 cups of masa harina (this translates to “dough flour,” and is a dry product by itself) 
  • 5 cups of warm water or low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you’re a vegetarian) 
  • 2 cups of pork lard (optional) 
  • 2 teaspoons of salt 
  • 3 tablespoons of chili powder (optional) 
  • 3 tablespoons of onion powder (optional) 
  • 2 tablespoons of powdered cumin (optional)

How To Make Masa

Once you have the above ingredients, it’s time to get started on making your very own masa. Following the instructions below to get started on your homemade tamales! 

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix the masa harina with the warm water or broth. Once you have mixed the ingredients thoroughly, let the mixture site for about 20 minutes to soften. From there, you can beat the ingredients with an electric mixer on a low speed until the dough forms. If you choose to use chili powder, onion powder, or powdered cumin seasoning, you can sprinkle them over the dough or mix it into the masa. 
  2. If you choose to add pork lard to your masa, pour it in a separate mixing bowl and whip the lard up with an electric mixer until it is fluffy (this can normally take about three minutes). Once mixed thoroughly, add the lard to the dough, beating in a little at a time until everything is combined. 
  3. At this point, your masa should be about the same consistency as peanut butter. If it’s too dry, you can mix in a little more water or broth. If the dough is too moist, consider adding more masa harina until you get the desired texture. 
  4. Your masa is now ready to use!

A couple notes on masa making:

  • If you have your own favorite herbs and spices, don’t be afraid to experiment with them in your masa. 
  • If you don’t plan on using your fresh masa right away, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Colorful capsicumsTamale Filling

Once you’ve made your masa, it’s time to get started on your tamale fillings. Tamale fillings are as numerous as the stars in the sky, but for simplicity’s sake, we’re going to look at a few tried-and-true savory fillings to get you started. Most of the fillings we will discuss do include an extra step of cooking, so make sure you have plenty of time to make each filling.

Authentic Beef Tamale Filling

At Texas Lone Stare Tamales, we believe there is nothing better than a tasty beef tamale. To make your very own authentic beef tamale, toss the below ingredients into a crockpot for seven hours, or toss it in the oven for four to five hours.

  • 3 cups of shredded beef 
  • 1 white onion, peeled and chopped 
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped 
  • 8 large roasted fresh green chilies (remove the skin, seeds, and veins before chopping)

If you don’t have an afternoon to prepare the above ingredients, why not order authentic Mexican tamales online? Our Gourmet Beef Tamales and Gourmet Barbecue Tamales are favorites among our customers.

Black Bean & Cheese Tamale Filling

If there are vegetarians in your family, you may be looking for a meat-free tamale that you can make at home. To make a black bean and cheese filling, throw the following ingredients into your crockpot for about two hours:

  • 2 cups of cooked and seasoned black beans 
  • ¼ cup of bean broth 
  • 1 cup of shredded panela cheese 
  • ½ cup of chopped cilantro 
  • ½ cup of peeled and chopped onion

If you’re looking for authentic Mexican vegetarian tamales, look no further than Texas Lone Star Tamales. Our Gourmet Black Bean and Cheese Vegetarian Tamales are made in a USDA inspected facility and can be delivered to your doorstep in just a matter of days!

Green Chili Tamale Filling

If you’re a fan of green chili, you’ll love making this green chili tamale filling. This tamale filling is simple and quick to make, all you need is a broiler or microwave and the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup of roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped fresh green chilis 
  • ½ cup of green cooking sauce (you can find this at most supermarkets) 
  • 3 cups of shredded Oaxaca string cheese or shredded Jack cheese 
  • ½ cup of whole corn kernels

Preparing Corn Husks & Folding Tamales

Once you’ve made the perfect tamale filling, it’s time to start preparing the corn husks. This can take up to an hour, but after you make the first few, you’ll have a whole batch of tamales ready in no-time.

The first thing you’ll want to do is inspect the corn husks, making sure to remove any debris that may be stuck to them. Separate the large pieces from the small pieces, and place the husks in a large bowl of warm water. To keep the husks fully submerged, consider placing a heavy item on top of them (like a bowl or a mug).

Once they are soft, remove the husks from the water and pat them dry. Place them into a covered dish to prevent them from drying out. Lay a husk flat on its surface, and spoon one to two tablespoons of masa onto the husk. Use the back of the spoon to spread the dough, and leave a space of about four inches from the narrow end of the husk, and about two inches from the other end. Try to keep the dough roughly a ¼ inch thick.

Now it’s time to spread the delicious filling. Take a few spoonfuls of filling and spread it down the center of the dough, leaving about an inch if dough around the sides. Locate the long side of the husk and fold it over, slightly overlapping the other side. Wrap any extra husk you may have around the back to help hold the flaps down.

Set the tamales upright in a steamer, and steam for about 90 minutes. After this time has passed, tag them out, and enjoy!

Texas Lone Star Tamales: Order Authentic Tamales Online

If you’re looking for authentic Mexican tamales that can be delivered right to your door, be sure to browse the selection of tamales at Texas Lone Star Tamales today. All of our tamales are hand rolled in real corn husks at a USDA inspected facility and they are gluten-free. We also offer wholesale tamales at an affordable price. Shop our online store for delicious tamales today!

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