You will need filling, dough and corn husks. And you will need to know how to fill the husks and the steam them.
Play some lively Mexican music while you make your tamales.
I used chicken mole only because we were already eating pork mole with the meal but any mole filling could be used. You can use other fillings in tamales including sweet fillings.
I make a good amount of chicken mole and use about 2 cups of it for the tamales. The rest I save to eat with tortillas or rice.
Filling: Chicken Mole (pronounced molay)
enough water to cover meat
2 stalks of celery and
1 bay leaf
2 cloves of garlic
Simmer for about an hour. This will make a nice stock.
Use some of the stock when making the mole and the rest in the tamale dough.
After the chicken is cooked and cooled shred it.
1/3 jar of mole paste
3 cups of broth
1 can crushed tomatoes
Dissolve about a third to a half of a jar of Mole paste in hot broth. It is best to do it in small amount in a small sauce pan. Use a fork to work out all lumps. I find the taste of the paste a bit strong and temper it by adding a disk of chocolate. Work out all lumps. Add a can of crushed tomatoes. Use cornstarch or flour to thicken. Add the shredded chicken.
2 cups masa
2 C luke warm broth
1 t baking powder
2/3 cup lard
½ t salt
hojas de elote (corn husks)
I used the recipe on the flour bag. Previously I had used regular masa flour that you also use for tortillas but this time I found a masa flour that said it was specifically for tamales. These were my best tamales so maybe it is really special.
These were the instructions on the bag:
Combine Maseca (masa flour), baking powder and salt in a bowl, work broth or water with your fingers to make a soft moist dough. In a small bowl, beat lard or shortening until fluffy, add masa and beat until dough has a spongy texture.
Now dough is ready to put into the husks.
Filling the Husks
Wash husks in hot water and rinse well. Don't use soap. They should be very pliable after a good bath.
Spread about 3 to 4 tablespoons of masa on a husk. In the center add a heaping tablespoon or two of filling and then carefully bring up the sides to fold over the filling. Fold the empty part of the husk and tuck it under to keep it from opening.
Steaming the Tamales
I steam the tamales an hour to an hour and a half. Stack the tamales in a standing position in the steamer. Cover them with extra husks to create a tent over them and put the lid on the pot.