4 bags hojas (corn husks)


1 teaspoon pepper (10-12 peppercorns if grinding fresh)

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin (or about 1 1/2 tablespoons cumin seeds if grinding fresh) 3-5 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon salt, or to taste

5 pounds masa for tamales (available at any molino/ tortillería; consult phone directory)

1 to 2 pounds lard

1 1/2 to 2 cups broth from cooked meat


See recipe below or use your own favorite

For hojas: Before preparing the masa, separate the hojas, remove corn silk, then rinse. In a large container (even your sink), soak the hojas in hot tap water for 30 minutes. Place a heavy object, a molcajete for example, over the hojas to keep them immersed.

For masa: In molcajete, grind peppercorns, cumin seeds and garlic. If you are using spices that are already ground, mince the garlic and mix with salt and pepper.

Place masa in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 pound lard and mix in. Add spices and some of the broth and continue to mix well. Add more lard if necessary. Add rest of broth and continue mixing for a few more minutes. Slap the masa with the back of your hand occasionally. The masa is ready once it no longer sticks to the back of your hand. With this method you will mix for about 20 minutes or until a pea-size piece of masa floats in a glass of water. (The longer you mix or whip the masa with an electric mixer, the lighter it will be.)

Spreading the masa and filling the tamales: Take a wet hoja that is at least 3/4 the width of your hand (tear it down to size if necessary) and place in the palm of your hand. Make sure the tapered end is pointing in the same direction as your fingertips and also make sure that the smooth side is facing up. Place a spoonful of masa on the hoja and with the back of the spoon (or with a butter knife) spread the masa out am to rise. Once you’ve completed one level, begin a second and a third if needed. Pour in 4 cups of water (or enough to fill about 5 inches of steamer) and cover top layer of tamales with a couple of cheesecloths, and place lid on steamer. Cook on medium high heat for 45 minutes to an hour. Turn off stove and let tamales sit for another 30 minutes. The tamales are done if they slide out easily from the hoja.

Pork Tamal Filling

San Antonio Express-News

Web Posted : 12/18/2002 12:00 AM

5 to 7 pounds of pork loin/shoulder/roast
9 cloves garlic, divided use

2 teaspoons salt, divided use 1 teaspoon pepper or 10-12 peppercorns if grinding fresh

6 to 7 ancho chiles 1 teaspoon cumin or 11/2 teaspoons cumin seeds if grinding fresh

Vegetable oil

Prepping the meat: Place meat in large pot and fill 3/4 full with water, ensuring the meat is submerged. Add 5 peeled cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Boil meat for 3-4 hours. Add water as needed. Allow meat to cool, then shred. Save at least two cups of broth for the masa.

Prepping the chiles: Remove stems and seeds. Place chiles in saucepan with boiling water to cover well for 30 minutes. Remove chiles from water, reserving water, and peel off chile skins. Place peeled chiles in blender, add 4 cloves of peeled garlic, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin and 1 teaspoon of salt (or to taste). Add 2 cups of the chile broth. Blend for 1 minute. Strain chiles through sieve. The idea is to eliminate the chile skin.

Combining meat and chile sauce: Heat a tablespoon or so of oil in large skillet set on medium-low heat. Stir in chile sauce and sauté for a few minutes. Add meat a little at a time and cook for 20 minutes on medium until liquid cooks down.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *