Until I moved to California I had never actually eaten a tamale. Now, I am hopelessly addicted, but I’m getting a little tired of eating the usual chile & cheese that they have at the farmers market, which is why taking a tamale class at Tarasco’s sounded like such an awesome idea. You can check out my full review on the class over at Johnny Jet.com, but here’s a tutorial if you want to give it a try at home. (forgive the terrible Iphone photos, but I am super self-conscious about lugging a big camera around with me in public. I’m afraid everyone will think I’m some wannabe-blogger. As if, right?)
You should be able to find masa at your local grocery store, and then mix with water and/or broth according to the package directions and let sit 24hrs. Yes, 24 hours. If you’re reading this right now and were hoping to eat tamales for dinner tonight, I’m really sorry.
BTW – best part about making tamales at home? You can flavor the masa with all sorts of spices. We used a mix of garlic powder, chili powder and cumin. Holy shitakes, it is tasty.
Lay out a corn husk (you can also find these at most local grocery stores now), with the “bumpier” side facing up. (feel the ridges of the husk, you’ll notice that one is a little “smoother”). Spread a very thin layer of masa over the entire husk, leaving a 1/4 inch border around the edges.
Sprinkle some of your toppings in a little row down the center of the tamale. I have some veggies and cheese here, but go with meat if you’re into that kind of thing.
Now bring the edges of the tamale up to meet each other. With the edges pinched together, push all of the masa & filling down toward the bottom so it forms a tight little tube. Then open the corn husk again.
With your corn husk open, fold over one side and tuck it in tightly before folding over the other side. Think of it like you were swaddling your masa, you want it snug as a bug in a rug.
Now, pick one end to be the bottom, and pinch it together. Squeeze all of the filling toward the open end of the tamale, almost like you were squeezing a toothpaste tube. When you’ve squeezed it about halfway up the husk, and before it starts to come out the other end, fold over the empty husk.
Take an extra husk you’re not using and tear it into little strips. These will be the “ties”.
Tie your tamale in a cute little bundle.
Steam for 45 minutes to an hour, sitting upright with the open end facing up. Note – these might be a little smaller than you’re used to seeing, especially if your corn husks are small. But they are DELICIOUS! Enjoy