Green Chile and Sweet Corn Tamales
- One 1 pound bag of corn husks- 0.45kg
- 6 cups masa flour for tamales- 792g (See Note 1)
- 6 cups of flame roasted hatch green chile- 1500 mL/1535g (see note 2)
- 2 cups grape seed oil (or any other neutral tasting oil)- 470mL
- 1.5 cups veggie broth (I use ‘Better than Bullion: No chicken base’ to make the broth)- 355mL
- 4 cups frozen corn- 570
- 4 jalapeños chopped finely *optional*(See Note 3)
- 1 Tablespoon salt (See Note 4)
- 7 ounce package of dairy-free pepper jack cheese (I use Follow Your Heart brand)- 200g
In a clean, plugged sink, soak the husks in water for at least 30 minutes then drain. If your husks are treated with sulfur dioxide you will want to drain the water and refill the sink with fresh water 3 times during the soaking process. You can keep the husks submerged in the water with a plate. After the 30 minutes they will be soft and you can scrub any dirt out of the ridges with a clean bristled brush.
Thaw the corn and let the excess water drain out.
Cut the pepper-jack cheese into about 60, thin rectangular slices, about 3.5 in long.
Prepare the masa by mixing the corn flour and all the liquid ingredients together. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer. Once thoroughly mixed, add the corn and jalapeños, stir with a spatula. Add salt to your taste. (See Note 4)
Form the tamales by scooping about 4 tablespoons worth of masa onto the husk. I use a cookie scoop to get the right amount. Place the slice of cheese into the center. Roll the husk up over the masa then fold the “tail” under. If desired you can tie a thin strip of husk around the middle like a ribbon to keep the “tail” in place. Place in the steaming basket with the open end of the tamale up. Continue for all the tamales. (See the picture instructions below.)
Steam in a large pot with a lid. Cook for 35 minutes at a rapid boil. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. (See Note 5)
“My mom makes the best tamales.” -Every Mexican I’ve Ever Met
Note 1: Why do I need to buy special corn masa for tamales? Masa for tamales has a grittier texture than masa for corn tortillas. That texture gives tamales their special mouth feel. If you use a more fine masa flour, your tamales will still taste amazing but will lack that traditional texture.
Note 2: I use jars of flame roasted, seasoned hatch green chilies as pictured below. make sure you get one that is seasoned with: garlic, onion, lime, and salt. It gives the tamales great flavor!
Note 3: Tailor the spice level you want by adding as many jalapeños as you like. If I’m making these tamales only for myself and other people who really like stuff super spicy, then I would use around 10 jalapeños. For a medium amount of heat I think 4 is a great amount. If I am making these for gringos I leave out the jalapeños. I don’t think hatch chilies have any spice to them but I’ve heard that they have enough spice for white people. Its great to make half of the tamales without any jalapeños and then add jalapeños to the remaining batter. You can distinguish between the two types by wrapping a husk bow on some and not on others.
Note 4: After being steamed, the tamales taste a bit less salty than they tasted before being cooked. If your broth is really salty you may not need to add very much extra salt. You want to add salt until the batter tastes slightly too salty. Tasting the masa is super important for making great tamales.
Note 5: The tamales have to be steamed at a rapid boil with a tightly fitting lid. I use a large pasta pot that has a deep perforated strainer. Start the timer after the water starts boiling and lower the heat to medium high. Check halfway through cooking to make sure there is still enough water in the bottom pan. The tamales will we very soft right after cooking. They will seem underdone but they are not. They firm up during the 10 minutes of rest and firm up way more when cooled down to room temperature. I actually love to heat them right when they come out of the steamer but they don’t come out of the husk as well until they have cooled a bit.
Note 6: This recipe fills my steamer basket up completely for the fist batch and then a little more than half way for the second batch. Don’t steam the tamales without filling the basket all the way. They will fall over and make a mess. If you have a little room in the steamer you can use some leftover husks to prop up the tamales. A foil pie pan folded in half works too to keep the tamales upright. basically you can use anything heatproof to fill the extra space. Also, don’t over stuff the steamer; too many tamales at once will not have enough room to grow while cooking and will also make a mess.
Note 6: You can certainly make these without cheese. I know dairy-free cheese can be expensive or hard to find. These taste great without it!
Note 7: You can add whatever kind of cheese you like, I think pepper jack, mozzarella, and provolone work the best. In the pictures below I was using dairy free provolone because I was making them for people couldn’t handle much spicy. Also, feel free to double the amount of cheese that goes in each tamale if you want them extra cheesy.
Making tamales is easy with a little practice. I hope these step-by-step pictures help. x