Here we are! Right in the middle of tamal season! Masa for tamales is much easier than you think. It’s not an exact science, but more like mixing it up a little until you like the results. The masa for tamales recipe featured here is prepared with masa harina corn flour. I grew up enjoying fresh ground masa directly from the tortilla factories in Los Angeles and Houston. Unfortunately for me, it’s not available to me here in central New York.
The masa harina works great though! I am not complaining in the least. It just makes me appreciate the real deal masa tamal when I have the opportunity to enjoy them.
The tamales featured on here are from tamales that I prepared last year. I didn’t have a chance to add them to my blog. I especially love the green, white and red tamal photos. It’s making me hungry just looking at it now! Lol! Bad thing is I have no tamales in reserve anywhere. Time to head into the kitchen, I guess.
Masa For Tamales
Easy masa for tamales prepared with masa harina corn flour.
- 3/4 cup pork lard(manteca)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt start with this amount
- 2 1/2 cups masa harina corn flour maseca brand for tamales
- 3 cups cups warm broth chicken, pork, vegetable or water
In the stand mixer, whip the pork lard for a few minutes until light and creamy. Adding some volume to the lard will yield a lighter masa for tamales.
Mix in the baking powder and salt.
Gradually mix in all of the masa harina.
On low speed, gradually mix in the warm broth of your choice. Once the broth is mixed in completely, taste for salt. Continue mixing at medium speed for 3-5 minutes. Cover masa directly with plastic wrap or a wet paper towel. Let the masa rest for at least 30 minutes before using it.
This masa recipe yields 12 large tamales or 24 small tamales.
For red or green masa, reduce the amount of chicken broth by 1/2 cup. Replace the 1/2 cup of broth with 1/2 cup red chile sauce or green chile sauce. On occasion I will use a good quality chile ancho or chile guajillo powder to color my masa. The red chile tamales featured on this blog post were prepared with chile powder. Depending on how much color you want to add is how you decide how much to add to the masa. Always have extra broth on hand in case masa appears to be too thick.
To assemble and cook tamales, you can click onto any of the links below.
Chile Colorado Pork Tamales (My Top Recipe!) http://pinaenlacocina.com/2014/01/29/chile-colorado-pork-tamales/
Green Chile Masa(Tamales Verdes) https://pinaenlacocina.com/2019/12/05/tamales-verdes-green-chile-masa-tamal/
Salsa de Chile Ancho. Chile Ancho Salsa For Pork Tamales https://pinaenlacocina.com/2014/03/25/salsa-para-enchiladas-de-chile-ancho-pure-chile-ancho-enchilada-sauce/
For masa for tamales, I prefer to use the tamal variation of masa harina. It’s a more coarse corn flour. As far as the fat you can use for tamales, natural rendered pork lard, processed pork lard, vegetable shortening and oil will all work ion the recipe. Using oil will not add as much volume to the masa as vegetable shortening will. And if you want to reduce the fat content, you could replace the fat with mashed potatoes! Lol! It really works. http://pinaenlacocina.com/2014/12/14/mexican-style-tamales-breaking-with-tradition/
The tamal above is simple black beans with Oaxaca cheese and salsa verde. I like to combine queso fresco, manchego and Oaxaca cheese whenever I can find all three.
Chile Colorado Pork Tamales
Green Chile Masa Tamal with Rajas(poblano strips), Oaxaca cheese and salsa verde. Tomatillo Salsa Recipes http://pinaenlacocina.com/2016/06/16/tomatillo-salsa-recipes/
I make it a habit to wrap my cheese filled tamales with deli sheets. It keeps the cheese from going out all over your pot. It also yields a nice shaped tamal. Sheets come in a box and can be found at most stores.
On the tamal for salsa is a dark red Chile Cascabel Salsa, Mexican Crema in the center and Tomatillo Salsa with cilantro blended in. https://pinaenlacocina.com/2016/08/09/chile-cascabel-salsa/