Picture of Tamales
Okay, I looked around and haven't seen a tamale instructable up here so I thought I would put mine up. You should all feel pretty lucky, this is a secret family recipe for tamales.......not my family, but somebody's.
Anyway, I figure the instructable community is small enough so only a few people will see it.
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Step 1: Ingredients and supplies

Picture of Ingredients and supplies
Here is a list of ingredients and supplies needed to make tamales. I've added links to some things so you can see what they are but I don't ever buy any of this online.

-Masa - Tamale Dough (I use the maseca brand for tamales) Note: Masa flour is not the same as cornmeal.

I also use the recipe that is on the maseca bag, which is:
-2 cups masa flour
-2 cups warm water or broth (I use the water I cooked the meat in)
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-2/3 cups lard or shortening ( I recommend lard)

This recipe makes about 16 tamales. I triple this recipe for the meat and cheese tamales.

If you cannot find Maseca brand masa, just make sure its masa for tamales. Some Mexican grocery stores have premade masa you can purchase.

-You will need a very large bowl for the tamale dough, if you triple the recipe.

-You will need corn husks. Have a couple packs of husks. At least 16oz. Its better to have more than not enough.

-You're also going to need a tamale steamer It doesn't have to be a large steamer like this. Anything that steams will work. A pasta pot, bamboo steamer, etc... A large pot with a wire rack raised at the bottom will also work.

These are the ingredients for each of the 3 types of tamale I make.

Meat Filling:
-3lbs of beef, chicken, or pork
-8 Chile California
-3 garlic cloves
-1 tsp cumin
-1 thick slice of an onion
-10 medium tomatoes (i use roma, but any will do)

Cheese Filling:
Sliced Pickled jalapenos (26oz)
Monterey Jack cheese

Sweet tamales:
1lb can crushed pineapple with juice
red food coloring

On this page, on making the masa, you say to add the baking SODA, but the recipe calls for baking POWDER. Which is it?

target022 (author)  sandra.chansingtaylor2 months ago
Thanks for finding that. I'll change it.
It's baking powder. Follow the instructions on the bag of masa.
What do i do it thr masa is to sticky?
target022 (author)  shannon.johnston.3743 months ago
To sticky means to much water. Add more lard to start with. Mix well. You fingers should be greasy when you touch the masa. You can also add more maseca but you don't want it to be too dry.
Ninzerbean4 years ago
I am making your tamales for the third time, and finally I am printing out the instructions so I don't have to keep running over to the computer screen. Thank you, they are so delicious, and easy!
target022 (author)  Ninzerbean4 years ago
That's great, I'm glad you like them.
I always make a filling of sauteed onions, black beans, corn, green onions, cilantro and different cheeses - motz, cheddar and monteray jack, which I mix in after it has cooled. There is another 'ible that says to use a corn husk to scoop and flatten the masa onto the main corn husk, and that is an amazing hint because nothing sticks to it and you can use your palm to totally flatten the masa to just the right thickness in two seconds.
itwasalan5 years ago
Nice instructable.  I hope everyone goes out and makes tamales, it's fun to do in a group hanging out in the kitchen.  Also just an fyi for everyone the singular form of tamales is tamal, not the far more common tamale.
Re-design5 years ago
Excellent instructable.  These look great.  I have Mexican in-laws and they would approve!
Burf5 years ago
Beautiful!  My wife makes tamales every year for Christmas and gives them out as gifts and for Christmas Eve parties, etc.  She is always looking for new ideas and you have done a tremendous job on this Instructable.
I printed out a .pdf copy for her. I'm sure she'll pick up some new ideas and hints from you.

Mucho gracias!
juchiteca Burf5 years ago
I think is "Muchas Gracias"
Ninzerbean5 years ago
I have always wanted to know how to make tamales because I wanted to be able to put good quality meat inside (lived a good life, outside, saw the sun, ate grass, no growth hormones, etc), so thank you very much - your attention to detail is just great, 5 *'s.
sgr595 years ago
REALLY dumb question here, that I have been too embarrassed to ask... Do you eat the husk? or is it just a wrapper around the edible bits?
I've obviously never been offered a tamale, and it is NEVER mentioned in the recipes...
target022 (author)  sgr595 years ago
I had a friend in school who had a tamale for the first time, but thought that they were too tough. He was trying to eat the husk too.
No, you don't eat the husk, its just a wrapper. You just throw it out.
sgr59 target0225 years ago
Thank you,
Maybe I'll give them a try. They always sounded like they would be too tough and stringy to bother with....
 That would make all the difference!
They make the best tamales at 7-11, i know, it's weird but they are Good.
thingy5 years ago
Nice job. 
icebird5 years ago
My hero!