In homes across Texas, the Christmas season is incomplete without homemade tamales. Tamalada parties—a generations-old tradition that brings together family and friends to create delicious tamales that everyone will enjoy at holiday meals—are a great way to continue or add the tamale tradition to your family’s Christmas celebrations.

Imagine 25 people gathering to create 225 dozen tamales, filled with either stewed pork loin or black beans, jalapeños, and cheese, and enrobed in flavorful masa and corn husk wrappings. Your tamale-making endeavor needn’t be so large, but knowing the key steps and ingredients will help no matter your party size.

  1. Invite plenty of friends and family. Having a big group, carefully organized on an assembly line, make the job easier and faster. Assign a task like preparing filling or spreading masa to each person.
  2. Have supplies on hand. Make sure you have all the ingredients and utensils you need. Ask friends and family to bring anything you might be missing.
  3. Rinse and soak the cornhusks. Husks float, so push or weight them down.
  4. Check your masa. You’ll know it’s the right consistency when 1/2 teaspoon of dough floats in a cup of cold water.
  5. Take care with hot peppers. Use latex gloves when removing stems and seeds from the chiles. And don’t touch your eyes!
  6. Prepare the filling. Pork, chicken, bean or dessert fillings are yours for the choosing. See H-E-B’s tamale recipe here.
  7. Don’t overfill. That makes it hard to roll and fold the tamale.
  8. Place extra husks over steaming tamales. The husks help retain moisture and prevent water from dripping into the tamales.

Look for Cocinaware, available at H-E-B and, for all your tamale making supplies.


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