I've made tamales a couple times before and find that the masa you can get at, for example, Super K to be quite usuable. It comes in a large plastic bag and is ready to go with just a snip of the scissors.
First, I get a small package of dried corn husks and let them soak in water until they are pliable.
Meanwhile, I get a good cut of beef, steam until able to shred easily, or you can saute small pieces of beef in water or tomato sauce (keep juicy) with chopped onions, hot peppers, sprinkle of garlic salt, cilantro, pimento or a touch of red sweet pepper, or any other flavoring you like. Saute until very soft. If you steam or boil your meat instead, saute the other ingrediants on the side to be ready.
Mix all if not mixed. It should have a creamy consistancy--easy to bite into with no large chunks.
Take you softened husk, lay it with the curly part up (husks have an inside and an outside by how they grew on the plant), thinly layer the masa inside, then spoon in a good (but not too much) of the meat mixture. If you used red chile, you might want to also include a black olive. If you've used green chile, you might want to also include a green olive.
Now here's a little bit of a difficult part, and it doesn't work if you've overfilled. Turn up the bottom of the filled leaf over the mixture about 1/3 of the way. Coat that exposed underleaf with more masa (but not the meat. the meat is done.) Turn in one side of the leaf over the meat mixture. coat that exposed underside with masa. Turn over other side of the leaf. Don't coat that. [You can turn down the top inside, but we prefer to leave ours open on top.]
Now for the steaming. It's really easy if you have one of those chinese bamboo layered steamers, the kind that look like a wooden column in several layers going up. you just place all your raw tamales inside (I lean the tops of mine against the inside rim then keep placing getting closer to the centr until each layer is covered. It's just important that the mixture doesn't come out the open end if you left it open.) Continue until all tamales are inside. Them place whole steamer unit over a large open-top pot of steaming water. I use my big wok. As the tamales steam, you need to add more water to the Wok/pot.
That's it! Not hard at all, especially since you got the ready made masa. Tamales freeze well, so you can go to the mess once for several meals. Serve with salsa or whatever.
Just remember that well-cooked meat (juicy and flaky) with tastey seasoning makes the tamale. Yum.
[ FRESH & DRIED CHILES ]  [ CHILE SEEDS ]  [ RESTAURANT REVIEWS ]
Copyright 1996 - 2004
10153 1/2 Riverside Dr. #459
Toluca Lake, California 91602