'Tis the season for Tamales...

EKC Farms in the desert

8 Years
Aug 21, 2011
New River, AZ
Being in the heart of Tamale season; has any one made tamales? My DH and I made our firts ones ever togther Tuesday night. We made Pork with Red Chili. I think they turned out great. We just need to work on the Masa- need a little more flavor and spice. Anybody have any good secrets to share about Tamales??
I remember when I lived in TX, the farm workers, who were Mexican, would make tamales and give them out! It was so neat because you would see corn husks blowing around, it felt like a cultural thing--it was awesome. And the tamales were good. But sorry, no tips, just reminiscing. LOL!
I never had Tamales until about 6 or 7 years ago. Probably never even heard the word before. Once I moved to AZ I fell in love with Tamales. Being a white girl I thought it was okay to eat tamales year round and buy them from the grocery store (from the deli or the freezer). Well then I hooked up with a Mexican- who thought I was crazy for wanting Tamales from Food City Deli counter (year round). I guess the "True" Mexicans carry on the tradition of only eat Tamales this time of the year and they won't eat ones from Food City (Hispanic grocery store). So I have learned to get my fill during December and January!!
Be sure and use real pork lard in the masa. Most mexican stores in my area make their own. Use any leftover lard for making fried chicken!
I sometimes use a bit of ancho chile paste in my masa too.

I could eat tamales daily. I had some made with sweet corn the other day, they were great. I've had them made by Guatemalans that had spicy chicken and green olives in them too!
Best tamales I've ever had came from a vender in the back of a van in a seedy part of Milwaukee's Hispanic part of town from a guy who spoke no English
I'd go there occasionally to go shopping with a Peruvian friend of mine.

Never attempted to make 'em though!
We need to go get some of the lard- we used just regular shortening and could def tell a difference. We did use the broth from the pork and mixed some of the red chili sauce into the masa to give some flavor. But I really think the lard was what was missing. Otherwise I think we would have hit the nail on the head with the flavoring.
Yup my moms side is from guatemala and I love this time a year, my grandma makes hundreds of them for all the fam. She makes them with chicken and pork, seperate of course, but soo GOOD. And as a plus my dads side makes pasteles, a Puerto Rican tamale of sorts. I have no idea on her recipe, its a family secret only passed on to the women of the family.
I had this huge tamale cooked in a banana leaf once, down in Momotoro, south of Brownsville. It was chicken and was the best tamale I've ever tasted. Was probably a 1 1/2-2 pound tamale, lots of filling to corn ratio.
Does anyone have any idea what this was? Is it a special tamale or just the same thing made with a banana leaf instead of corn husk?
My family makes tamales in huge batches.They freeze well and we eat tamales all year. I am planning to make tamales with fresh corn husks if my corn crop ever succeeds. So that will be tamale making in late summer.

I don't use lard in the masa. I use vegetable oil. The secret is to use real broth for the liquid and to add a touch of dried Ancho or chili of your choice. What I use to make the masa is the broth off of the meat that I've been simmering the entire day before.

So it is meat broth simmered with onions, chili, and cumin.

This year we made tamales of beef, pork, or elk. Each type of meat tastes different and each type is drop dead delicious.

I have enchiladas, beans, and baked tacos in the freezer, too, so I can put together a Mexican Combination plate very easily. Just make a pot of rice and perhaps make a couple of chili rellenos and can do a fancy Mexican cuisine feast with almost no effort at all.
Oregon Blues- we used the broth and the chili mixture in the masa as well. I did cook the pork with garlic, black pepper, onion, chili powder, and cumin. The meat turned out wonderful just needed some more flavoring in the masa. I made chili rellenos last night!! We have have beans frozen in the freezer. So easy to thaw out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Guess I just need to put more seasonings in next time.

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