There is no recipe, this is just how I learned to make it. Heat a thin layer of bacon grease in a skillet. Add rice to cover the bottom. Stir to coat well. You can add more rice or grease if you wish. Just don't put in so much rice that it overflows while cooking.

Brown rice over medium high heat until "crackly" you will know it when you see it.

The last couple minutes, add chopped ionion to taste as well as as much garlic as you like.

Add an 8 oz can of tomato sauce heat to boiling. Add a can of chicken broth (or 2 cups homemade) and stir. Lower heat to simmer and cover. Cook about 20 minutes or until rice is done and liquid is absorbed. You can add more broth as needed.



My grandmother made them from scratch every single day. She didn't have a recipe so one day I had her put the handfuls and pinches of what she was putting in her bowl into measuring cups and spoons first, to her delight. She thought we were weak for having to measure. This recipe has served me and the other "weak ones" in our familia well over the years.

sift together 3 c. flour 1 tsp salt 1 TBSP baking powder

Add oil. Mix with fingers until blended (she said this was key in good tortillas)

Add about 1 1/4 c lukewarm water, mixing until a soft dough forms. Knead smooth on a floured board and shape into a ball. Let it rest for about 10 to 15 minutes or until it loosens up.

Form into 12 balls and roll out into a thin circle.

Cook quickly on a hot ungreased griddle.


In our familia, Tamales were made for Christmas Eve dinner. The making was an all day event. The rule was, you help-you eat. You don't help-you might eat, but you didn't get any leftovers to take home.

Again, no recipe, but we as a family made one that works well and is as close to Grama's as I remember

Meat and Husks

About 6 or 7-pound pork roast. (Get the cheapest cut on sale)

Chunk it up and simmer til done and tender. Shred-it up. I usually do this the day before or at the very least put it on to simmer before I go to bed the night before. Save the broth!

1 package per roast of corn husks, washed and separated. Soak the husks in warm water in a bucket or a sink. You might have to weigh them down. They will soften and start to separate.


1/2 cup oil
9 TBSP flour
1 cup (+ or -) water
1 tsp chopped garlic (or to taste)
2-8 oz cans tomato sauce (with a little water to rinse cans)
3 cups pork broth
3 tsp salt
4 TBSP chili powder

Heat everything except four and water to a boil. Dissolve flour in water to make a thin paste. Add to the rest of ingredients, lower to simmer, and cook till thick. Add water if needed to make to a gravy consistency. Add to shredded meat. I usually reserve about a half cup to use in masa to give it color and flavor.

We always just went to the corner Mexican store and ordered it made. However, when I moved to Portland from San Diego, there is a serious lack of prepared masa to be had. I bought a 10-pound bag of Masa Harina and made my own. Just follow the package directions. Your masa should be the consistency of thick cake batter.
The Making

Make sure you have a stockpot at least 1 foot tall.

You will need to have something in it to set the tamales upright as well as room for water to steam the tamales without getting them soaked at the bottom.

Pat corn husks dry. Use the whole ones first. Spread 2 or 3 TBSP masa on the smooth side of the husk. Stay about an inch from the bottom and sides, but going near the top. Spread a TBSP or 2 of meat mixture on the masa. Fold over from the sides and then fold the bottom up. As you get many made, you will stand them upright in the stockpot that has a cake pan or something similar upside down in the bottom and hot water to the edge of the cake pan. Stand tamales in the pot folded edge down and make sure there is enough tamales to hold them upright. Cover with a damp tea towel and cover. Steam for 1 and a half to 2 hours. Add hot water carefully as needed.

This recipe makes about 6 dozen.

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