How to Make Tamales

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How to Make Tamales
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How to Make Tamales

"Americans usually think tamales are filled with meat and wrapped in a dried corn husk," says chef Alex Stupak. "But I've seen them both sweet and savory, with fillings and without, and wrapped in fresh corn husks, corn leaves and banana leaves."

Here, easy steps to making tamales at home.

Image Credit: Raymond Hom

Prep

Make the braised pork filling and prepare the masa.

Using a sharp knife, cut off the stringy tops and bottoms of each banana leaf. Carefully cut the leaves into 8-inch squares; set aside any with tears to use for steaming. You'll need about 18 squares.

Image Credit: Raymond Hom

Fill

Spread 1/4 cup of the prepared masa in a slightly off-center 4-by 6-inch rectangle on each banana leaf square.

Spread 2 tablespoons of the braised pork over the masa.

Image Credit: Raymond Hom

Fold

Fold the bottom edge of the square up and over so that the masa encloses the pork filling. Fold the top edge of the leaf down, then fold in the sides to close the packet.

Image Credit: Raymond Hom

Tie

Tie the packet with kitchen string.

Image Credit: Raymond Hom

Steam

Line a large steamer with a layer of banana-leaf scraps. Add the tamales in 2 loose layers. Steam the tamales over boiling water for 1 hour and 20 minutes, replenishing the boiling water as needed. Remove from the heat and let the tamales stand in the covered steamer for 30 minutes.

Transfer the tamales to a platter and serve, passing scissors at the table.

Image Credit: Raymond Hom

Variation: Crispy Fried Tamales

Leftover tamales can be revived by frying them in oil. Dust unwrapped tamales with rice flour. In a large skillet, heat 1/2 inch vegetable oil to 350°. Add the tamales in batches and fry, turning once, until golden, 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve.

Image Credit: Raymond Hom

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"Americans usually think tamales are filled with meat and wrapped in a dried corn husk," says chef Alex Stupak. "But I've seen them both sweet and savory, with fillings and without, and wrapped in fresh corn husks, corn leaves and banana leaves." Here, easy steps to making tamales at home.

Check out the slideshow above to learn how to make tamales.


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