Posted in Blogmas, Food and Beverage

All about tamales

Happy Christmas Eve! 

Today has been a whirl and it’s not even noon yet. 

The only Christmas tradition I seem to always and I mean always find time to do is make tamales. Last night I stayed at my friend’s house helping make tamales and while we finished the assembly pretty early, the actual steaming of the tamales took forever. I left at 12:30 but we still had two pots steaming.

This year we were smart and did not bother to count how many we made. We were too lazy and had too many specialty ones we had to make. Cheese with no jalapeños for the kiddos, cheese with extra spicy salsa and jalapeños for my friend’s father in law. Speaking of her father in law, this man has a gift to never be around when we are making the tamales but always arrives exactly as the first batch is ready to be eaten.  

I personally love helping to make the food because I feel I learn something new each year. Two years ago I made tamales on my own and learned how long to steam them. Last year was the first time I made tamales with banana leaves instead of corn husk, so I learned how to wrap them and tie them. This year I learned to make the masa from scratch. 

My mom used to make her own masa when I was a kid but I never paid attention. As an adult I’ve only used premade masa that can be found from a Mexican market. This year I decided to learn to make masa. I figured it was simple enough.  


-1 1/3 cups lard or solid vegetable shortening, or butter.

-1 1/2 teaspoons salt (omit if masa mixture contains salt)

-1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (omit if masa mixture contains baking powder)

-4 cups freshly ground masa harina flour for tamales (34 to 36 ounces) and add 2-4 cups chicken broth (or 2 1/4 cups warm water.)

To prepare the dough:

-Combine masa for tamale, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add broth or water.

-Mix with your fingers to make soft moist dough. In a bowl beat the lard until it gets fluffy, add the masa and beat until the dough has a spongy texture. Taste for flavor and salt and water, if necessary.

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