Let’s be honest here: tamales are delicious.
They are also pretty time intensive to make. It’s not hard, but it does take a few hours, a dose of patience, and the ability to take words like “a bit”, “some”, and “a pinch” with a grain of salt. Making tamales is a social activity and with the right group of friends or family, even the hardcore perfectionist tend to relax and go with the flow. Masa still runny? Just add a pinch more to the mix (who cares that it doesn’t say to do so in the recipe!).
With tamale season upon us, I decided it was about time we shared the
10 Easy Steps To Make The Perfect Tamales
- Invite a bunch of friends and family over- this is a social as much as a cooking event!
- Buy the right ingredients- skimp and the taste will change. Don’t let anyone tell you that anything can substitute chiles pasilla. The recipe calls for chiles pasilla for a reason.
- If possible, schedule the tamale making party over two days- one for the rice, beans, and meat prep and one for the actual assembling of the tamales. Trust me, you’ll be thankful. Also, it doubles the fun!
- A bit of bubbly wouldn’t hurt. Or tequila.
- Schedule correctly- it takes a while to make and assemble tamales. Food prep takes 3-4 hours (of continuous work) and actual assembly and cooking will take another 2+ hours. Plan accordingly.
- Make double what you think is too much! Leftovers are a blessing and, after you make a batch of tamales, you won’t feel like making them from scratch for a while. You can freeze your extra tamales and have them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Oh yeah, tamales for breakfast are totally a thing.
- Follow our traditional and authentic Mexican tamales family recipe.
- Don’t feel guilty when you consider buying them instead of making them from scratch- but cook on and do make them from scratch anyway. You’ll be glad you did.
- Chop, cook, assemble, laugh, take a break, cook some more, assemble some more, laugh, swear you’ll never do this again, laugh some more, consider sneaking out the bathroom window, assemble some more, repeat
- Enjoy. Slowly. You made extra for a reason.
As you can hopefully tell, the perfect tamales are made with laughter and fun, family and friends. And yes, the right ingredients. It’s an art more than a science because, once you can make chicken and meat, the tamale part is easy. They may not always look like tamales, but if you follow the instructions they will taste like heaven. Provecho!
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