Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Making of the Tamales

Tamales are not just thrown together. They are not easy to make, and should not be taken lightly. The corn husks must soak for hours, there are chiles to toast and de-vein, salsas to grind, meat to cook and shred. The dough must be mixed and kneaded and pushed by hand. Abuelita Marcelina has done this a thousand times, patting the masa out with her thumbs onto the flattened husk, spreading the filling, folding it up expertly without a thought. I clumsily dropped a spoonful of chicken and salsa verde in one tamal, and somehow managed to close it up in the time that Abuelita made 5 perfect packages. It isn't easy, but in her hands it looked it. It's a beautiful thing to watch a professional at work.

Soaking the corn husks

Abuelita Marcelina de-veining the chile guajillo

The chile close-up

Salsa de guajillo about to be mixed

The fillings: pollo con salsa roja, pollo con salsa verde, rajas con queso (jalapeno and cheese)

The kneading of the masa

Her hands moved so quickly I couldn't catch them on camera

The tamal waiting to be filled

Sweet tamal with raisins (they are dyed pink so that they are easy to identify)

Filling the steamer with the tamales

Piles of tamales!

Ready to eat

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  1. Oh cool!! I just made tamales a few days ago and have started a series sharing how the experience was for me. I'm really happy to see these photos. I didn't make tamales with salsa roja, but these tamales look fantastic. YUM! Thanks for sharing these photos with the world. I love seeing the abuelitas making homemade tamales. There's nothing like it.

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