How to steam tamales without a steamer?

Introduction: Why steam tamales without a steamer?

Tamales are a popular Mexican dish that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They are made with masa dough filled with various savory or sweet ingredients and then steamed in a corn husk. While traditional tamale steamers can be expensive and not readily available, there are ways to steam tamales without one. By following the steps below, you can make delicious tamales at home without having to invest in a steamer.

Preparing the tamale dough and filling

The first step in making tamales is preparing the masa dough and the filling. You can typically find masa dough at your local grocery store, or you can make it from scratch using masa harina, a type of corn flour. Once you have your dough, mix it with water or broth until it reaches a smooth consistency. For the filling, you can use a variety of ingredients such as meat, cheese, vegetables, or fruit. Cook the filling ingredients before assembling the tamales.

Assembling tamales for steaming

To assemble the tamales, take a corn husk and spread a thin layer of masa dough on it, leaving a border around the edges. Spoon a small amount of filling onto the center of the dough, then fold the husk in half, enclosing the filling with the dough. Roll the husk tightly, tucking in the edges to create a neat package. Repeat with the remaining husks and filling.

Boiling water in a large pot for steaming

Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. You will need enough water to cover the tamales when you place them in the pot.

Setting up a makeshift steaming basket

To steam the tamales without a steamer, you can create a makeshift steaming basket using a colander or a metal strainer. Place the colander or strainer upside down in the pot so that it is suspended above the boiling water. Make sure the colander or strainer is large enough to hold all of the tamales without touching the sides of the pot.

Preparing the tamales for steaming

Once the water is boiling and the makeshift steaming basket is in place, arrange the tamales upright in the colander or strainer. Make sure they are not touching each other and have enough space to expand during cooking.

Covering and steaming the tamales

Cover the pot with a lid and reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer. Allow the tamales to steam for approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the masa dough is cooked through and the filling is hot.

Checking for doneness and adjusting cooking time

To check if the tamales are done, remove one from the pot and unwrap it. The dough should be firm and pull away from the husk easily. If the dough is still wet or sticky, continue cooking the tamales for an additional 15-30 minutes. Check the tamales periodically until they are done.

Removing and serving the steamed tamales

Once the tamales are done, turn off the heat and carefully remove the colander or strainer from the pot using tongs or oven mitts. Let the tamales cool for a few minutes before unwrapping and serving them with your favorite toppings, such as salsa, guacamole, or sour cream.

Conclusion: Enjoy your homemade tamales!

By following these simple steps, you can steam tamales at home without a steamer. Whether you are making tamales for a special occasion or just to enjoy with your family, this method is an easy and affordable way to make delicious homemade tamales.

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Elise DeVoe

Elise is a seasoned food writer with seven years of experience. Her culinary journey began as Managing Editor at the College of Charleston for Spoon University, the ultimate resource for college foodies. After graduating, she launched her blog, Cookin’ with Booze, which has now transformed into captivating short-form videos on TikTok and Instagram, offering insider tips for savoring Charleston’s local cuisine.

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