Tuesday, March 2, 2010

20-Minute Tamales

I love tamales, but they are time-consuming to make. Even just steaming them takes an hour to an hour and a half. I knew there had to be a better way.

One day while cleaning out my fridge, I came across some leftover grits that had taken on the form of the container in which I had stored them. I took them out and heated them up, but they remained in that stubborn tupperware shape. That is when it hit me. Why not cook the masa, the corn grits used to make tamales, on the stovetop and then roll it in the corn husks with the filling? I gave it a shot, and it worked perfectly. Using this method knocks a good hour off the time it takes to make this dish. It goes a little something like this:
8 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil
zest from one lime
2 tsp. ancho chile powder
2 Not Chick'n bouillon cubes
1 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 cups masa (for tamales)
24 corn husks (soaked until soft)
3 cups tamale filling of your choosing (I used THIS)

Bring water to a boil and add the oil, lime zest, chile powder, cubes, and baking powder. Stir and then add masa a little at a time so you don't get any lumps. Cook masa for 20 minutes stirring often to develop a creamy texture. While masa is hot, spread about 1/4 cup on the center of a corn husk, place two spoonfuls of filling in the center of the masa, and roll it up. I didn't even fold the ends up because the masa was so thick it stayed in place. Allow them to cool. To serve simply heat them in the microwave for a few minutes, top with hot sauce, and enjoy.


mobilediesel said...

I love tamales but hate the amount of time it takes to make them! I don't know why I didn't think of this!

Thanks for posting!

Jay M. said...

just brilliant.

Anonymous said...

I've always loved tamales, however have always felt 100% intimidated by them in the kitchen. Your 20-minute tamales have changed my perspective, thanks for sharing :)

Mama said...

You have just changed my life....seriously. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I was inspired by your post (that and the fact when I planned my dinner last night, I had not planned to be out of corn tortillas). I used polenta instead of the corn tortillas in my enchilldas verde. It really turned out well. I used goat cheese, green chile sauce, green chilis and tomatoes, corn, and some vegetarian refried beans. The polenta worked! I may vary this with black beans next time. Thanks for the inspiration! This is one of my favorite sites.

Bianca said...

Genius. I've never made tamales because everyone always complains about how time-consuming it is. But I could totally do this.

Missy said...

Hey, Justin:

I love tamales as well. Will bookmark this sweet recipe, for next time i'm feeling adventurous in the kitch.


p.s. Great pic!

p.s.s. Fellow Mississipian here. In a tiny town called Winona, next to Grenada.

Anonymous said...

We have a friend in Winona -- Ray!


Crystal said...

What a great idea! I made tamales recently and definitely thought there had to be an easier way. Was also thinking about just combining the filling with the masa mixture before putting them into the corn husks.

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Holy Shit! I have to try this.

Barbara Rants said...

WOW. I just tried the tamale recipe. I am so amazed. Every year I make tamales and it can be such a chore. This year's came out too dough-ey and I wasn't willing to try another batch until I saw this. They're perfect (black bean and cheese).

Next I am going to try the pupusa recipe with the leftover black bean mixture and some loroco flowers that have been sitting on the shelf.

Thanks for the inspiration!