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    You are in: Home / Recipes / Traditional Tamales Recipe
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    Traditional Tamales

    Traditional Tamales. Photo by breezermom

    1/3 Photos of Traditional Tamales

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    Total Time:

    Prep Time:

    Cook Time:

    4 hrs

    2 hrs

    2 hrs

    daisygrl64's Note:

    A very popular dish in the Mexican/Spanish Culture. Recipe from recipegoldmine. I guessed on the time here. Sorry not sure how long from start to finish. NOTE: The chiles are the dried ones that you see hanging outside doors or under ramadas in the Southwest and can be purchased at any grocery store in the Southwest or packaged in the ethnic foods section of many grocery stores elsewhere. * Masa can be purchased at any tortilla factory or grocery store in the Southwest or in the refrigerated section of the grocery store in many other areas of the country.

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    Units: US | Metric


    1. 1
      To prepare chile paste:.
    2. 2
      Break caps off all red chiles and shake seeds out. Soak red chiles in hot water until soft. Blend or process chiles into a paste using a small amount of water in which they were soaked to help it move in the food processor or blender. Put paste through a sieve to remove the skins. Throw skins away. This may be made way ahead of time and refrigerated until you make the tamales.
    3. 3
      To prepare meat:.
    4. 4
      Use the cheapest roasts you can find! Try to cook the meat the day before assembling tamales, keeping it in the refrigerator until tamale-making time. Cut meat into large chunks. Cover meat with water in a very large pot. Add 6 to 12 garlic cloves and 2 or 3 tablespoons salt. Cook meat, covered, for 3 hours or until meat is tender and falling apart. Remove meat from juice and shred. SAVE THE JUICE. Mix meat sauce with the meat.
    5. 5
      To prepare meat sauce:.
    6. 6
      Melt 2/3 cup lard or Crisco and add 2/3 cup flour. Boil for 2 minutes. Pour over shredded meat and mix. Add chili paste, one cup at a time, to taste. Add 1 tablespoon of cumin. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    7. 7
      To mix masa:.
    8. 8
      Place 12 pounds masa (room temperature) in a very large pan and mix with 1 1/4 cups lard or Crisco, 2 tablespoons salt, 2 tablespoons baking powder, 1 cup chile paste and 2 cups meat broth.
    9. 9
      Mix with hands. Add more meat broth (about 1 cup). Add more chile paste for color if desired. Work all ingredients together with hands for about 10 minutes. The dough is ready when a small lump floats slowly to the bottom of a glass of water.
    10. 10
      To assemble tamales:.
    11. 11
      Soak corn husks in hot water until soft. Using the larger husks, place each husk waxy side up (ribbed side down). Spread masa onto each husk out to the wide edge. Place a small portion of meat in the center of masa. (You may place a stuffed green olive on the meat if you care to.) Roll husks and fold back, wide sides to center, then tapered flap up.
    12. 12
      Set a wire rack or vegetable steamer in the bottom of a large kettle. Put water in kettle just up to the bottom of the rack or steamer. Set tamales in kettle standing on end. Pack them in, allowing room for expansion of masa as they cook. Steam for about 20 to 40 minutes, or until masa pulls away from corn husk easily.

    Ratings & Reviews:

    • on September 13, 2009


      Very good except for the cumin. If you like cumin, use it. I use the very same recipe handed down from my parents. Many people use several kinds of filling. Pork is, in my opinion the best tamal. Keep up the good work. Mr C

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    • on June 04, 2009


      I love tamales. I have a girlfriend that is Mexican, and I had to have her help with this one. It takes quite a while, but makes a lot. I didn't use the beef, instead I made half with the pork roast, and half with chicken. I didn't have any trouble finding the masa was in the ethnic section of my grocery store. The red chiles were there too. My photo shows the tamales in the corn husks, but the masa came away from the husks very easily. Thanks for posting! I made this for ZWT5 for the Saucy Senoritas.

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    • on May 17, 2009


      I have never had Mexican Hot Tamales before, muy caliente! I scaled back the recipe and it worked out fine. This recipe can be made as spicy-hot as you like by adjusting the amount of chili paste you put in. Chili paste is nice because it is spicy without the sometimes overpowering heat of hot pepper sauce. I also used banana leaves rather than corn husks since I had them in the freezer. The flavor of the masa was very good and the meat filling was spicy and warm in the mouth, delicioso! Thanks for posting, made for ZWT #5.

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    Nutritional Facts for Traditional Tamales

    Serving Size: 1 (1996 g)

    Servings Per Recipe: 4

    Amount Per Serving
    % Daily Value
    Calories 7843.9
    Calories from Fat 1837
    Total Fat 204.1 g
    Saturated Fat 65.2 g
    Cholesterol 876.1 mg
    Sodium 1450.8 mg
    Total Carbohydrate 1096.7 g
    Dietary Fiber 135.0 g
    Sugars 15.7 g
    Protein 428.3 g

    The following items or measurements are not included:

    salt and pepper

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