Instructions for Filling Tamales

By Ann M. Evans, as taught by Belinda Rodriquez

Masa dough, prepared


Note: Prepared, fresh Masa dough can be purchased from El Torito Meat Market, (725 East St, Woodland); La Superior Mercados has the corn husks (34 Court St, Woodland). El Torito Meat Market may have them as well.

Fill the Husks

1. Soak the corn husks in a bowl of very hot water for about 15 minutes. Using your hands, swirl husks in water to loosen and silks or dirt. Drain, rinse and shake off excess water.

2. Lay a cork husk, glossy side up, on the palm of your hand, arranged so that wide end is closest to you. Spoon 2 heaping tablespoons (using one large soup spoon) of the Masa onto husk about 4” from the bottom. Using the back of the spoon, spread the layer so that it is about ¼ “ thick, along the top half of the corn husk.

3. Spoon a tablespoon or so of the filling in a line down the center of the dough.

4. Fold in one long side of the husk about 1/3 over dough and filling. Fold in the other long side, overlapping the first (like folding a business letter). Fold the bottom of the husk up.

5. Repeat with remaining tamales.

Arrange and Steam the Tamales

1. Add water to the bottom of your steamer (about 1 cup, or enough to cover the bottom of the pot and not go above the wire rack.)

2. Place tamales on rack in steamer, standing upright, with the folded end down and open end up. Don’t over pack the pan; just pack them tightly enough to keep the tamales in an upright position.

3. Steam for 5 minutes to 1 hour.

4. To test if they’re done, remove one and try to pull the husk off. If it comes off easily and cleanly, they’re done.