Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Basic Good Tamal Dough

This is a basic and very good tamal dough from Jaunita Casados, matriacrh of Casados Farms, located on the pueblo of Ohkay Owinge, formerly San Juan Pueblo.  The farm has been in business for nearly 50 years supplying dried three sisters products (corn, beans & squash) along with excellent products from the southwest's own fourth sister:  Chilli/Chile.  It was first published in Casados Farms own New Mexican Delights.  It was later re-printed Native Peoples magazine, and later re-published in the cookbook put out by the magazine Mind, Body & Spirit.  You can use any color of cornmeal for this; she uses white and blue, but yellow is common and some southwestern vendors, like Native Seed Search, sometimes sell red corn flour as well.  For yellow, follow directions for the white tamales with yellow tamal flour, for red--follow directions for the blue tamales.  Her's are made for a mixed meat filling, but by substituting vegetable ingredients for the meat ones, this dough can easily be made for vegetarian tamales of all sorts.

1 tsp.  salt
1/4 cup meat fat (you can get this from making a meat filling for 
    the tamales and reserve the fat, or use lard, bacon fat, suet or
    if you are vegetarian, pure vegetable shortening)
1 1/2 cup meat or vegetable stock

For White Tamales:

2 cups Masa harina white tamale flour

For Blue Corn Tamales:

2 cups blue corn flour (the fine type)
1 tsp. double acting baking powder

1.  Divide the salt, the fat and the stock in half between the two different colored cornmeals in separate bowls.  Using an electric hand mixer, beat each separately until thoroughly blended and "doughy."  That's it!  Hey presto, you have a perfectly usable tamal dough!

This can be used plain as tamal dumplings cooked in softened corn husks.  It is a perfect recipe for any type of filling from Picadillo to vegetable.  You simply spread some dough on a corn husk, lay in some filling, roll and steam.  Very simple.  I homemade or decent purchased chile sauce or salsa tops them well.  Different colors are great for Christmas!!

A Blue Corn Tamale with a meat filling and a roasted corn sauce.

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