Perfectly Folded Tamales in 5 Easy Steps
Step Three in our Three Day Tamale Challenge
It’s day three in our Three Day Tamale Challenge! Are you excited? I am! Today we get to put all your hard work together and create a delicious meal for your family and friends. I promise once you taste your OWN HANDMADE TAMALES you will be grinning ear to ear, and so will whoever you bless these bundles of flavor to. So lets get started!
Here is what you will need to complete day three of your tamale challenge:
- Corn Husks (From Grocery Store or online)
- Your Cold Meat filling from Day One
- Your Masa Dough from Day two
- Your Chipotle Sauce from Day One
Prepare For Folding your Tamales
Soak your Corn Husks
Here I have placed my corn husks into a large plastic bowl full of warm water. I placed a heavy stone bowl on top to keep them submerged. We need our corn husks to be soft and pliable for folding. Check your corn husks after about 30 minuets or so. If needed, pour out water and repeat the process again. Soak until the corn husk is easily fold-able in your hand. Save damaged or too small corn husks for making the “strings” to tie your tamales. Just tear the corn husks into strips.
Get Filling Ready
Take out your cold pork (or other meat) you prepared on Day One. Use a knife to chop / shred it into smaller pieces.
Place your meat into a sauce pan and pour about 1/2 cup of your chipotle adobo tamale sauce from day one into the pan. Slowly heat on low and incorporate the sauce into the meat. Add as little or as much of the sauce as you want for your tastes. Remember, the sauce is SPICY! Once the sauce is thoroughly mixed with your meat, turn off the heat and set aside. Make sure the meat is not super hot when you use it later. Let it cool. I even put mine back into the refrigerator until I am ready for it. (Save some sauce for dipping or drizzling over your tamales!)
Once this step is done and your corn husks are fold-able, we are ready to start making tamales!!!!!
Fill Your Corn Husks with Masa and Filling
I like to lay out my tamales on a towel to soak up any excess water. Gently dab the corn husk with a paper towel. Make sure any debris is cleaned off of the corn husk. (Strings and dirt may be inside the corn husk packages)
Tip: Use any small or damaged husks for making ties. You will need to rip small pieces of corn husks to tie your tamales. You can use kitchen string, but I like to use the strips of corn husk for a rustic and natural look.
Spread your masa dough evenly over the top portion of your corn husk. Leave one inch at the top and similar on the sides. Leave at least 3 inches at the bottom or your corn husk for folding. Make sure your masa is evenly spread throughout. If too thin, it will not steam properly and you will be scraping your tamales out of the husk when ready to eat. If too thick, you will have too much masa. We want a nice even meat to masa ratio inside our tamale.
Tip: If your masa is not spreading easily, fill a glass with hot water. Dip a metal spoon into the water and use it to spread the masa. It takes time and practice to get this right, so don’t worry if it looks crazy. Remember, practice makes perfect. Our recipe yields about 60 to 65 tamales, so you will get the practice! 😉
Arrange your filling into the direct center of the masa. Make sure your filling is not hot! Your meat filling should be as even as you can get it up the length of the masa. Remember we want an even meat to masa ratio. Once this is complete we can move on to the fun part, folding your tamale!
I love using the natural corn husk strips to tie my tamales. It gives them a nice rustic look. Continue on until you have made as many tamales as you want.
Here is a link to a nice video if you like to watch videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fI_4wK1j_BE
Doesn’t it look great! You can freeze these immediately at this stage. Place them into freezer bags and try to get all the air out before sealing. They should be good in your freezer for up to a year. (Don’t forget to label your freezer bag)
If you are ready to eat (YES PLEASE!) all you have to do is steam them. Place them open side up in a steamer basket. You can lay them gently on their sides if you do not have an upright steamer basket. As long as they are not directly in the water, steam them with whatever method is available to you.
Steam your tamales for 10 to 15 minuets. They will be hot! Be careful of the hot steam when opening your pot lid. Let your steamed tamales rest for 5 minuets before opening them. Open the corn husks carefully. If we have the correct amount of masa, the tamale will roll out of the corn husk in one nice piece. If it sticks in places, it means that the masa was a little too thin in those areas. No worries, just scrape it out. It is still delicious!
You can store cooked tamales in their husks in the fridge for up to 3 days. Just re-steam them to enjoy.
InstantPot or Pressure Cooker Instructions:
If you have an instant pot and are as obsessed with it as I am, here is a quick way to prepare your tamales:
- Place your tamales, open side up in a steamer basket, or on a rack that is not touching the bottom of the pot.
- Fill the pot with 1 to 2 cups of water depending on how many tamales you are cooking.
- Cook on high pressure for 20 minuets
- Let natural release for 10 minuets, then quick release and open lid. (Be careful of hot steam)
- Let the tamales rest for 15 to 20 minuets so the insides can solidify. (They will be extremely hot to the touch!)
- Unwrap tamale, top with your favorite toppings and enjoy! 🙂
Hooray!!! We Learned to Make Delicious Tamales in Just Three Days! Don’t You Feel Awesome!
You did it! You completed The Three Day Tamale Challenge! Don’t you feel like you accomplished something great! Tamales are not that difficult to make after all! 🙂 Of course there are many ways to make tamales, this is but one of many.
I hope this challenge has inspired you to create your own unique fillings and techniques to personalize your own signature tamales.
I am proud of you!!! Now sit back, relax, and enjoy eating and sharing your homemade tamales!
Til Next Time….
Farmer, Crafter, Blogger