Tamales for Christmas or the New Year! A Tradition down here in Mexico!

Rodrigo's art show 053Tamales started back in 5000 BC. Women were taken and expected to make tamales for the men out fighting in the wars. Tamales were something they could make ahead of time and be eaten cold, or warm. There are many different kinds of tamales ranging from beef to frog, green/red chile, fruit, or nuts, fish.

Here in Ensenada the most popular to make are beef, chicken, pork, or pineapple. They are prepared ahead of time, and then steamed as a way of warming them up. You can also put them on hot coals for camping occasions,  or microwave them.

Tamales, are a lot of work, which is why they are made usually on special occasions, Christmas, New Year etc. If you have ever mad your own tamales you know how much work they can be.             Rodrigo's art show 052

We had fallen short of our record and only made 111 tamales this year for Christmas. We can freeze them and use them later. It is a lot of work, but now with traditional cooking it is a lot easier. It is best to get a large group of people together to make Tamales for dinner. It is a great way to bring the family together for the holidays, and other special occasions.

Here is a great recipe for tamales: Tamale Dough

2 cups instant masa

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1-1/4 cups lukewarm broth or water

2/3 cup lard or vegetable shortening

1/3 can of cream corn (optional)

½ jar pimentos (optional)


Combine masa, baking powder, & salt. Work in broth until well moist. Add shortening and beat dough until it has a spongy texture. Add cream corn & pimentos.Prepare tamales with desired filling. This recipe makes enough dough for 16 small tamales.

For the filling of the Tamales:

You can use corn husks or foil to wrap your tamales in.

We use beef most of the time and like to use a roast of some sort. 1-1.5 lbs. is good for the recipe above. You can substitute for chicken or pork, pineapple, or any desire you wish to make. We cook the roast in a crockpot overnight with a can of enchilada sauce. Let cool.

You can add an onion if you want.

Prepare foil wrapping or soak corn husks for 1 hour before preparing tamales. Spread 1 tablespoon of dough around on corn husk. Place 1 tablespoon of beef filling on top of dough, with 1 green olive in the center. Make sure to have enough dough spread out to cover the meat of your choice, or fruit, etc. when rolling tamale up. Fold sides of husk over tamale. Fold pointed end of husk under with the seam side on the outside. Repeat until desired amount of tamales are made. Stand tamales on folded ends in Tamale pot or steamer. Cover the tamales with left over corn husks. Cover with lid and steam for 1 hour or until the dough pulls away from husk easily.

When we make the tamales personally they are not uniformed and you can use more meat if you desire. Makes sure to have enough dough to cover the meat when rolling up tamale. This is a fun way to spend the day with family.

You can put the tamales in freezer bags after they cool down freeze them for a later date. They are great steamed or microwaved for a couple minutes as a quick snack.

What a great way to have a lunch on the go while riding a horse in Ensenada up through the mountains.

Rodrigo's art show 054Enjoy, and if you have any questions please feel free to email us.

Happy New year!!


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