Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Black Bean Tamales

My first Daring Cook's Challenge January 2012 from thedaringkitchen.com: Mexican Tamales! I fist had these only a few months ago and had never heard of them before I moved to the US. Great as a starter, snack or for breakfast and healthy too.

Approximately 15-16 dried corn husks, soaked with hot water and left overnight.

For the filling:
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomato with green chiles, drained
1 teaspoon garlic salt ( I substituted this with 2 cloves fresh minced garlic and ½ teaspoon of salt)
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon freshly chopped corriander (optional - my own addition to the recipe)
For the tamale dough:
4 cups masa flour (corn tortilla mix)
3 cups vegetable broth
½ cup olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt

Combine all the ingredients for the filling in a bowl and mix well, set aside. To make the masa dough. Combine the olive oil, salt and masa mix in the bowl and beat until combined (I always beat by hand, but an electric mixer is recommended). Gradually add 2 cups of vegetable broth to the mix. If the mixture seems to dry (you can taste it for moistness at this point) add more broth 2 tablespoons at a time. The mixture should be firm enough not to crumble too much but not too sticky.

To prepare the tamales, you will need to wrap them in the corn husks and secure them with corn husk strips. To make the strips, take 2 corn husks and tear them into a ¼ inch wide strips. Keep the wrappers soaked to avoid them drying out. Lay one corn husk on the worktop or chopping board and place a heaped tablespoon of masa dough on the husk, press out into a square shape leaving at least 2-3 inches of husk at the bottom. Now carefully spoon the filling down the centre line of the masa dough square. Carefully fold the dough and wrap. Make sure the dough is pressed into the other side and the corn husk is wrapped tight. fold the lower end of the husk upwards and secure with a husk strip and repeat.

When ready to steam, use a large pan and that the tamale's are sat upright in the steamer, if there is space you may want to fill up with aluminum balls to keep them upright. Steam the tamales for about 40 minutes or until the dough deepens in color and easily pulls away from the husk. Unwrap and enjoy!

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