Thursday, March 21, 2013

Easy Southwest Tamale Cups

So....I have been craving tamales lately.

I remember making them many times with my mom when I was still at home. I have attempted them myself on a couple occasions, but you really need "the village" to pull off this dish well.

But they're sooooooooo good. I love the polenta-like consistency of the tamal dough after it is steamed and then you get the wonderful goodness of what's been stuffed inside. All covered in a fragrant, tasty red chile sauce.


I figured out a way to make them... easy. I still think the traditional way of using corn husks is way superior, but this enables me to make tamales on a week night.


@Salted Nuts

Now doesn't that look tasty? And it's all in a stuff your face with as many as you can  convenient portioned size.

It's made with a basic masa harina (corn flour) mix, formed in cups and filled with your favorite tamale ingredients and baked in a bain marie (water bath-baby!), so that the masa stays nice and creamy and puffs a little.

2 cups masa harina-found in almost any grocery store in the International section.
3 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin and garlic powder
pinch of salt
1 cup of warm water

2 cups of prepared Pinto or black beans
2 cups of red chile simmered pork, chicken, beef(optional)
1 cup of cheese
(see the beauty of this is you can use what ever you like: corn, green chiles, taco meat, shredded cooked chicken....)

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. 
  2. Prepare the masa in a bowl adding in the oil, cumin, garlic powder, salt and warm water. Mix with your hands until you get the consistency of a slightly sticky dough (if too sticky add small amounts of regular flour. Cover, to rest and let the masa hydrate. 
  3. Meanwhile prepare six 6-8 oz. cups, like custard or baking cups and spray with non-stick spray and place in a baking pan or dish large enough to hold all of them. 
  4. Heat 3 cups of water to a boil. 
  5. Place about 2 tbsp of the beans in the each of the cups and cover with the red chile shredded pork. 
  6. Pour the water into the pan (not in the cups, around them) going to the side of the cups up to about an inch, cover the entire pan with foil. 
  7. Carefully place the pan in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. 
  8. Remove the foil and sprinkle the cheese over the cups and return to the oven for 8 minutes or until the cheese is melty and bubbly. 
  9. Serve. Careful!!! The cups are very hot, use tongs and or mitts.