Maranda of Jolts & Jollies was our January 2012 Daring Cooks hostess with the mostess! Maranda challenged us to make traditional Mexican Tamales as our first challenge of the year!
Having been born and raised in San Antonio, I can assure you that I have eaten a fair share of tamales! Often my family has them on Christmas Eve, which is a very popular tradition down here. Every grocery store has corn husks in the produce section, and some even sell giant tamaleras for steaming huge batches of tamales. You might therefore assume that I’ve made tamales before, but nope…this is why they’re on my list!
Traditional tamales are meat-filled and usually have lard in the masa so I haven’t had so many in the past couple years due to the vegetarian kinds being less common. All the more reason to make my own! Maranda provided a vegan black bean recipe which sounded tasty, but I decided to go an easier route and fill mine with monterrey jack, hatch green chiles, and cumin.
I’ve always heard about how difficult, or maybe rather time-consuming, it is to make homemade tamales, but never really knew why. It’s a tradition for many families to get together and make large quantities for Christmas, so I guess making copious amounts of anything can become tedious. Since the husks need to be soaked a few hours, there is a little planning ahead, but after that, you make the filling, masa dough, and then assemble and steam.