My husband is from Mexico and his sister gave me some pointers on making tamales. I now have my own way in combination with hers. She lives in Chicago where you can find fresh masa in which it is already wet and you just add salt, broth, melted lard, and some baking powder. I don't have that priveledge. So I use the masa mix and I like to beat the lard with a little of the broth and salt till its light and whipped before adding the masa and the additional broth. This brings in a little more lightness to the masa. Also make sure to salt the masa well, I taste mine wet, but have also done the microwave test. It is not necessary to tie off the tamales or stand them up. Instead, try to put a thin layer of masa over the entire husk and only put a strip of filling down the middle, fold in one side, bottom up then the other side, and pinch the open end shut. If you season your masa properly then you will enjoy all the extra left on the husk. Tamales are time sonsuming because of their prep time, they do not take that long to cook. It typically takes 1 to 1 1/2 hours. To check them, c if the husk will pull away from the masa clean, if it is still sticking, let them cook a little longer. Remember that the masa will still look wet and jelly like and will set as they cool. I think they are better as leftovers. Freeze your leftovers in a baggie. For a really quick cook time, try them in your microwave steamer, takes about 8- 10 min. Just make sure the waters hot before you put them in.
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My husband is from Mexico and his sister gave me some pointers on making tamales. I now have...