Continuing on from the last post, the next step in making tamales is to put the filling into the corn husk. Above Rique is demonstrating the technique.
What you want to do is smear a thin coating of the tamale dough over the broadest part of the leaf and about 3 inches at the pointed top. Then you spread the filling down the middle of the dough. Here you can see 2 of the 3 flavors we made. On the left is poblano peppers and chihuahua cheese. On the right is tinga, which is shredded chicken cooked with oregano and onions in a chile chipotle-tomato sauce. We also used pork for a filling.
Next, overlap the sides of the husk loosely so that the dough can expand and turn up the pointed end of the leaf. Oh, and don’t throw the smaller tortillas away. These should be pulled into strips for tying the tortilla shut.
Next the tamales go into the steamer. We used a big, heavy duty steamer and filled the bottom with water and one penny. Then you put the tray in and stack the tamales bonfire-style on top of it–so, upright with the tie-down flaps upwards. Tamales should be packed firmly, but not too tight because you want to leave room for the dough to expand. After all the tamales are in, cover them with more corn husks. A secret that Enrique showed us was to then put 2 cheap, plastic, shopping bags on the top of that. Then put the lid on tightly and put them on a hot burner. When you hear the penny making noise and jumping around, you know that the water is boiling. At that point turn the burner down and let the pot simmer. Total cooking time is 45 minutes.
This is when we all took a break and ate beans, rice, chips, guacamole, pico de gallo, tinga, and corn tortillas for lunch.
To test the tamales to see if they’re done, take one out from the center and one from the side. When you open the husks the dough will smooth and spongy and will come away easily from the husk.
That’s it. So, next time you have 3 – 4 hours to spare you can whip up a batch of tamales for your family and friends. Everyone in the class took home tamales and Rique served the tinga tamale leftovers in the restaurant.
Here are the members of the alumni group – Tess, Amy, Laverne, and Carrie. There were about 4 other people who were friends of the alumni members who also attended the class.
And here I was waiting for the bus on Sheridan/Argyle when some girls ran by jumping rope. You can see Rique’s in the background. Overall the day was fun, the class was inexpensive so I’d recommend it to anyone, and Rique’s food is great, authentic Mexican. If you’re ever in the neighborhood you should stop by. Or make a special trip, it’s worth it!