Jun 12, 2010

black bean tamales

totally get why traditionally women gather at 'Tamale parties' to make this stuff. It took me hours in the kitchen! But I have been asked many times over this year to make tamales and I've been saying 'someday.'

Well, someday was today.
It takes a while to make tamales so I made a whole mess o' them. It is a black bean filling that I cooked not with lard, but with 1/2 T of toasted sesame oil (hinting at a pork-flavor; idea from Bryanna Clark Brogan). I wrapped them in banana leaves and corn husks and served them with roasted tomatillo and chipotle salsa. I made Mexican rice - using brown rice.
Everything was absolutely fantastic!
Boy, that was a whole blog-full!

 I wonder what next year's tamales will have in them...

Cost Breakdown:
masa: $1
shortening: $3
beans and rice: $2
tomato, tomatillo : $6
onion, garlic, chipotle: $1.50
corn husks and banana leaves: $4
Total to make 25 tamales and
2 days' worth of outstanding Mexican rice:


  1. The tamales looks delicious with the green sauce.

  2. Thanks! They were! The tomatillo salsa was perfect with it.

  3. Im planning to make tamales on Friday for the first time. Would you suggest I make salsa to go with it or do you think they'll be just as fine without? I wasn't planning to, but after reading your post you got me wondering if I should...

  4. Making the salsa is so quick and easy, I say yes, you should.

    Salsa has tomato, onion, garlic, cilantro, and chili. Roast the tomatoes, chili pepper and garlic - or not, up to you. And buzz everything in a food processor to the consistency you like.

    You can vary the above by adding fruits - mango, pineapple, etc. Or changing your pepper. Or adding a different herb or omitting the cilantro.

    It adds a lot of flavor. And unless you use enough fat in your tamale (1/3 c fat to 1 c masa harina) to make the masa soft, it might be dense and dry. Salsa can give you the moisture if you are wishing for a more fat-friendly tamale.

    Another tip: after your corn husks are re-hydrated, wipe the side you are filling with a kitchen towel; masa does not stick to wet husks and it'll be a pain to spread. Keep your fingers clean, too. Don't bother spreading with a spoon - use your fingers. If you line up three to make at a time, it'll go faster.

    Oh, and I hope you can have a buddy helping. Have fun and good luck.

  5. Thank you for your advice! I will remember you tips when I make them this week!


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