Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sweet Tamales

Last week Robert, Tiffany, and Ethan came over for chili. After dinner Ethan and Ross made yellow cake cookies. They all came over again this past Sunday (for Indian food), and Ethan helped me make sweet tamales. I made the plain masa ahead of time and Ethan added and stirred in the rest of the ingredients. Ethan liked the raw masa, but once cooked, he said he didn't like it. I think he was just really tired and would rather play MarioKart than sit down to eat dessert.

When I was little my mom would make these for me with sugar and raisins. She made these tropical sweet tamales a few weeks ago, and I had been wanting to try and make some myself.

Sweet Tamales

masa--this can be bought pre-mixed or as a powder that you mix with water, baking soda, salt, and fat. I have the powder and used pineapple juice from the canned pineapple in place of some of the water, and butter instead of vegetable shortening.
one large can crushed pineapple
shredded coconut
brown sugar
sugar (or snow, as Ethan called it)

corn husks (ojas)
steam rack

You know me, I don't measure. I let Ethan dump/shake/pour in the ingredients and stir the mixture until it tasted good. I added the pineapple in last. I don't think the order matters that much though. Well, here are some more detailed instructions.

1. Drain pineapple. Juice can be used to make masa.

2. If using powder, prepare masa according to directions on package (using 2 c of corn). The masa can be made ahead of time. Cover with plastic and refrigerate until ready to use.

3. Soak ojas in hot or warm water for a few minutes. Separate and clean the husks, leaving them to soak in the water to soften.

4. Add sugar (I think Ethan added about half a cup of brown sugar and one cup of regular), vanilla (2 tsp.) and spices to masa and mix thoroughly.

5. Add shredded coconut and drained pineapple and mix again.

6. Taste the mix and make sure it is yummy--if not add more sugar, and/or spices.

7. Place steam rack into the pot and add some water. My dad says it is best if the boiling water doesn't actually touch the tamales.

7. Stuff, roll, and fold the tamales and pack them into the pot. The last batch of tamales I made with my mom really oozed out the top, so this time I tried to leave some room at the top of each tamale for expansion. This step works best if one person rolls the tamales while a second person alternates between separating the ojas and packing the tamales into the pot. Tiffany was nice enough to help me with this step while Ethan played LEGOs with Uncle Ross.

8. Cover the pot and steam the tamales for about an hour. Check the water periodically and add more when it gets low.

For some more photos check out my other tamales post. Hmmm. I think I'll have a tamale now.

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