For the past few years Marla and I have made tamales for Christmas dinner (why should this only be a Mexican tradition?!)
My mom made tamales for us growing up and over the years developed a technique that quickened the wrapping process. It is still quite a production that my sister and I undertake but it is so worth it for delicious homemade tamales.
Amo los tamales como una senorita ama su cantante.
We made three types of filling this year:
1- Mom's traditional (chicken, cheese, onions, olives)
2- Spicy veggie (black beans, cheese, jalapeno, onions)
3- Greek veggie (feta, roasted red pepper, spinach, olives, red onions)
It is imperative to get the right masa for the dough. We always use Maseca Tamales. We bought the wrong kind on accident but immediately noticed a difference and had to drive to three stores looking for the right stuff. The recipe above is the one on the package, and it is the best one to use. The only thing we do differently is add corn to the dough after it is mixed.
Tamale making timeline:
1 hour- shopping
1 hour- make the filling
1 hour- driving around to find tamale masa in Temecula on Christmas weekend
1 hour- mix the dough
1 hour- wrap tamales
3 hours- steam and cool
It is arduous but well worth it! Plus we have enough tamales to feed a small Mexican Army.
Although we are saving them for Christmas we had to try a couple to make sure they were completely cooked. They are GOOD.