Sunday, January 8, 2012


Sabes que!
Hubby and I are bien tamaleros!
Yep, we decided to make tamales for the 1st time ever.

Honestly, I was nervous.  We told my family we had a traditional Mexican dinner planned for new year's day. 
I explained that we were making tamales. My brother was a tad disappointed due to this meaning no traditional collard greens or black eyed peas.  He and his wife had never tried tamales before but agreed to give them a try.

*a little side note*
 Years ago my parents lived in Alabama.  The Mexican and I were married and my dad was  impressed with my growing Spanish vocabulary....   He has always wanted to speak Spanish fluently. They lived in a very small town.  There were not a lot of Spanish speaking people living there. 
 So, one day they went to the grocery store and there was a woman with her child on the same isle as them.  My father heard them speaking in Spanish and took it upon himself to say "Hola."  The next thing you know, the woman began talking to my father in Spanish.  I'm sure my father looked like a deer caught in headlights!  He had to explain that he in fact did not speak Spanish.  The woman ended up explaining to my parents she was getting ready to make 300 tamales and invited them over for Christmas.  My dad wanted to go and try the tamales but my mom didn't think it was appropriate because they did not know her and figured she was just being nice to them.

needless to say, .my parents were excited about our upcoming tamale dinner!

My husband assured me he had seen his mom and sisters make tamales before and knew exactly what to do. I doubted him a little because as tamale making time got closer he had me looking at some YouTube videos and researching recipes.

We took a trip to la tienda Mexicana and bought all of our supplies.  We cooked our meat in the slow cooker until it was so tender it was falling apart!  I used Ancho chiles for the 1st time to make a sauce to coat the meat in.  It turned out really good.   

The next day it was "masa" making time.  This is the part we were nervous about.  We read different recipes for la masa.  I finally decided to just go with the recipe on the side of the bag.  When hubby came into the kitchen and saw I decided to start making la masa without him, he asked me what I put in it.  
I told him, "maseca (the type of flour we used), caldo (broth),  sal (salt) manteca (lard), y polvo de orinar (urine powder).
"You put what!"  He exclaimed.  "You put pee?"
"What!"  I responded!  
"You just said you put polvo de orinar!"
So, I showed him the bag.  "This, this is what I put!" as I pointed to polvo para hornear (baking powder.)
After laughing about my huge mix up of words we continued on.

Assembling them was the most fun.  We were working as a team.  I put la masa in the corn husks, he added the filling and folded.  We ended up making about 45.  I wish we would have made more but for our 1st time I think we did pretty good.

After they were finished steaming we had to try one before our family arrived.  I was nervous. If they didn't taste good, we were screwed!  
We both grabbed a fork and took a bite.  I started oooohing and ahhhhing .  "Que rico!" added hubby.
I looked at him and said, "we are some muy buen tamaleros!"
(I do not know if what I said above even makes sense, but hubby started laughing and said, "Si." I knew he got what I was trying to say)

The dinner went over well.  Our son ate several and that made us both happy. I explained to my brother that we even put a few coins in the bottom of the pot for good luck.  Kind of like adding a coin to the peas or collards.  Really, it was to make sure we didn't run out of water.  A trick hubby taught me.   My brother and his family thought they were good.  My parents LOVED them and even took some home for the next day!

Hey, don't laugh at our disposable plates and cups!  

We have a new tradition!  



  1. Yay! Hiciste tamales! Congrats, Tara. They look awesome, as do the sides. Jijiji I did the same with the masa, followed the label on the Maseca bag to the letter. My freaking heart was hammering as soon as I started masando. You're an expert now. Are the Ancho Chile's really spicy?

  2. Ezzy,
    The Ancho Chile's were really really good and not too spicy. Maybe if I added more it would have been spicy, but I was trying to keep it low key due to my parents not being use to spicy! spicy!

    Next time, I will definitely use more!


  3. Sounds like you made a great team! The tamales look great and I am so glad that your family liked them. We had the collards and black eyed peas in my house...maybe I can convince my hubby to try tamales next year :-P Happy New Year!

  4. As much as I loved the tamales, I have to admit I did miss the collards (they are my fav!) I might have to make them just because....
    Happy New Year Jen!

  5. That is truly amazing! It takes a long time to make tamales. I'm impressed :) And I think collard greens would go just fine with tamales next time ;)

  6. Very brave Tara. Tamales are one thing that I have never attempted to make, and I don't think I have the balls to even try. But yours look great!

  7. Kelsey, I seriously debated adding collards to the menu. I may do it next year. LOL

    Jennifer, It was a lot easier than I imagined. I think I imagined it being so hard that it ended up being easy. After your catering sessions, tamales would be a breeze for you!