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Making tamales, remember is not difficult, just follow Grandma's easy instructions.


masa-5lbs, for 10 lbs double items listed below
1 two pound pork roast
manteca( armor lard) 1 small box, 48 ounces
chili casabel-1/3  of a pound, find in produce department, red, dry looking chili peppers
corn husks-1 package, 30-48 leaves
garlic cloves-about 6 cloves
comino-either fresh or dry, 1 tablespoon



Day before:

  1. Cover the pork roast with water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the roast is very tender and starts to fall apart, usually about 2 hours.  Remove the roast and save your meat broth.  Using a fork or your fingers, shred the meat finely. 
  2. Soak the corn husk in a large bowl with hot water to soften overnight. (See Figure 5)
  3. Soak the cascabel peppers overnight in a bowl of warm water to help soften them.

Tamale Making day!

  1.   Take your cascabel peppers, wash them, then cut off all the stemmed ends of the chile pods and discard.  Cut pod open lengthwise with knife and clean out all the seeds.  Place peppers into a blender and liquefy to make a sauce.
  2.  Take 1/2 lb. of the lard and melt it in a frying pan. 
  3. Next get your chili sauce and pour into the melted lard and mix together, add  about 1 tablespoon ground cominos and 3 crushed garlic cloves to season.  Add enough salt to mixture, so it is slightly over salted to taste.  Let mixture simmer about 20-30 minutes.
  4. Now get your meat and add it to sauce, let simmer 20 minutes more.  Check taste and make sure it is slightly over salted.
  5. Place masa into a large bowl.  Then get your meat broth and pour into a small frying pan, when it is warm, add salt.  It must be slightly over salted.  Then pour into the masa.  Kneed the masa until there are no lumps.  Check to see if it is soft. (See figure 1)
  6. Melt remaining lard in  pan.  Then add  to masa mixture. Work the masa with your hands, until it is greasy and smooth. Make sure you are careful with mixing. The lard is very hot.  You can mix with your hands or use a mixure. Test it by pressing the back of your hand into mixture.  The masa is ready if it no longer sticks to your hand.
  7. Get wet corn husks out of water and put onto a plate with a strainer.  Take  one corn husk, place the rough lined side down and check to see if the smoother side is facing you.  Then with a large spoon or knife, put a heaping slab of the masa onto the leaf.  Spread  the masa, until about 2/3 of the leaf is covered.  The rest of the leaf is clean. The spread part should be pretty smooth, not thick or uneven.  If you can see through the husk it is too thin, if it feels a bit heavy, then the masa is too thick. (See Figures 3 and 4)
  8. Place about a tablespoon of your meat sauce into the center of the masa on the corn husk.  Roll the  tamale in the corn husk so it looks like a cigarette.  Then fold narrow end of shuck up toward the middle of the tamale. (See Figure 7)
  9. Repeat the same procedure until you have run out of masa.
  10. Put a round bowl or a round metal wire at the bottom of a very large pan or a steamer.  Place water at the very bottom of the pot, just enough to steam, under the bowl.  Then add the tamales over the bowl.  They should not touch the bottom of the pot.  Stand them folded ends down, filled ends resting of the inverted bowl, so water won't get into the shucks.  Place them in the pot on top of one another until the pot is full.
  11. Steam the tamales for about 30-40 minutes, depending on how big your pot is and how many you are cooking.  Test the tamales by simply opening one up.  The masa when cooked should be jelled, not mealy and not  too soft.  Don't over cook or they will turn out too dry.  When done they are ready to eat.  But  let them sit in the pot for about 30 minutes or so they can completely gel.  Sometimes when you take them out too soon they can be too soft.  when you take off the husks, the tamale should come out easily and look solid.  Throw the husk way, (See Figure 2)
  12. Enjoy! Serve with either melted cheese, or homemade salsa sauce.