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OK OK – these do take awhile. The masa goes together pretty quick and if you made Carnitas (see last post), that's already done. The real time is for the assembly and the cooking. Tamales are steamed, so that takes about 1.5 hours. Yes, it is a long time but you don't really have to do much except add a little water to the steamer from time to time. I served these with a store bought Mole, but you can use salsa, sour cream, or just by themselves. These refrigerate and reheat really well and make for a great snack the next day. I've even made sweet tamales by adding sugar, cinnamon, and melted chocolate to the dough and filled them with sauteed bananas. They tasted great, but were pretty obscene looking.

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  • Makes about 2 dozen smallish tamales
  • Masa
  • 2 cups instant masa flour
  • 2 tbsp lard
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup warm water or stock
  • Mix the masa flour, salt, and baking powder with the lard and butter and mix well. Add warm water and beat until fluffy. You might have to add more liquid, the consistency you're looking for is like a thick frosting.
  • Filling
  • about 8 oz leftover Carnitas (see last post) shredded
  • or
  • refried black beans
  • or
  • shredded chicken or beef


  1. Assembly and Cooking
  2. Dried corn husks (Hojas) You can find these in most grocery stores. For this recipe take 2 or 3 of the bundles and soak them in hot water for 15-20 min. Separate the husks and use some of the small ones to line you steamer.
  3. Take off a large husk and lay it flat onto a clean towel. Take about 2 tbsp masa and place it in the center of the husk. Using either your fingers or a spoon dipped in water, spread the dough out leaving about 1- ½ inches at the top and bottom and about ½ inch from the sides. Take about 1 tbsp filling and run it down the middle of the dough. Now bring the sides up and overlap them slightly, wrapping up the filling with the masa. Take the loose ends and fold them down over the seam. Lay these into your steamer seam side down and continue with the remaining. Steam about an hour before checking them. Pull away a little of the husk and they're done when the husk cleanly pulls away from the dough.
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