Recipe | Mexican Tamales by No.7 Hot Sauce

Making Mexican Tamales
with No. 7 Hot Sauce

Tamale base, or Masa Recipe

2 cups Masaeca Nixta Masa
(translates to unprocessed corn flour - it is a yellow bag - try to find it)
½ cup melted lard, rendered bacon fat, butter or olive oil.
1 cup of room temperature water

Method

In a bowl, add flour, fat and half a cup of water. Begin to mix with your hand. The dough should be sticky and not at all dry, so continue to add water until the dough is sticky but comes off your hands easily.

Both Sandra and I were trying to think of a similar texture and we came up with Play-Doh and toothpaste. Now cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

 

When Carlos is looking for inspiration or the exact way to make something, he often calls his mother in California. Carlos and his family immigrated to the United States when he was quite young. His mother begins to tell a story, gets descriptive about sounds and tastes, and Carlos interprets this into the food of his childhood. Both of his parents were incredible cooks - as I said, Carlos’ dad was part of the Aztecs and hailed from Mexico City, so he was used to a more elevated level of cooking than people from more rural areas. His mother was from Michoacan state, which like Puebla, had very gifted cooks. The family demanded local, quality ingredients and his father taught them all to taste the main type of food and not to try and mask it, so simple quality was always on the table.

There are many fillings for tamales. Some familiar and classic and some not so much. As with all Great Ethnic Home Cooks one must start with a great foundation in order to spread your proverbial cooking wings. Carlos started with an incredibly classic filling; Chile Verde which translates to "stewed pork in a green sauce."

Ingredients for the Meat
 

Meat: 1 kg pork butt, I like local and/or organic cut into a small dice around ¼ cubes
2 tablespoons lard or olive oil
2 tablespoons No. 7 Dried Spice Blend or 1 tablespoon of Cumin
1 smashed garlic clove
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Method

In a pot, add lard or oil and warm. Add pork and turn heat to medium. You almost want to blanche the meat, not brown it. Add salt, pepper and garlic. After 10 minutes add the Salsa Verde below. Cover and simmer for approximately two hours or until pull apart melting, tender. Allow to cool.

 

 

Salsa Verde

5 peeled Tomatillos, quartered
1 medium onion, quartered
1 clove of Garlic
3 tablespoons of No. 7 Jalapeño Hot Sauce, (which is actually mild on the hot sauce scale)
1 bunch of washed and roughly chopped Cilantro (optional but I think it is a must)
¼ cup water

Method
Add all ingredients to a blender, blend until smooth and pour over the meat at the correct time in the recipe above.

I love this sauce. It is tangy, not overly hot and packed with flavour. Do this same recipe with chicken or turkey, a favourite bird in Mexico, I also think it would be insanely good on a baked piece of white fish or just dip homemade taco chips into it.

Let’s put these babies together and you will see how easy they really are.

In your hand, place a corn husk with the outer side down. Take a heaping tablespoon of masa and coat the entire husk except 1 inch of the narrow tip in a 1/8-inch smear of the masa. Add a tablespoon of the pork running vertical along the masa leaving a little folding room on each end. One side will have more masa exposed - fold this side in halfway, now the narrow base and then the other side. Seal the top by squeezing it together. If you don’t have enough masa to seal the top just add a bit like glue. Stand all the little tamales in a bowl until they are all done. This recipe should yield you around 25 tamales. Once they are all complete, place them in a steamer standing upright so the filling doesn’t ooze out. If need be in your pot just add a little bowl or some such thing to fill in the extra space if there is any.

Tamales need to steam over a low heat for two hours. Check them after an hour and a half by opening one up and giving a taste. The filling should be soft yet firm and taste cooked.
To serve the tamales, make sure to add some of the Salsa Verde or No.7 Jalapeño Hot Sauce and some Crema in a squeeze bottle. Crema is a thinner, saltier version of sour cream. I think thinned-out sour cream with a pinch of salt works perfectly.  

Last but certainly not least is Cotija, a cheese similar to Paneer or Halloumi used to grate on top of the tamal. Take a steamed hot tamal and remove the husk. Place it on a plate and spoon over a good amount of Salsa Verde then a pretty little drizzle of Crema and a dusting of Cotija.

Tamale base, or Masa Recipe

2 cups Masaeca Nixta Masa
(translates to unprocessed corn flour - it is a yellow bag - try to find it)
½ cup melted lard, rendered bacon fat, butter or olive oil.
1 cup of room temperature water

Method

In a bowl, add flour, fat and half a cup of water. Begin to mix with your hand. The dough should be sticky and not at all dry, so continue to add water until the dough is sticky but comes off your hands easily.

Both Sandra and I were trying to think of a similar texture and we came up with Play-Doh and toothpaste. Now cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

When Carlos is looking for inspiration or the exact way to make something, he often calls his mother in California. Carlos and his family immigrated to the United States when he was quite young. His mother begins to tell a story, gets descriptive about sounds and tastes, and Carlos interprets this into the food of his childhood. Both of his parents were incredible cooks - as I said, Carlos’ dad was part of the Aztecs and hailed from Mexico City, so he was used to a more elevated level of cooking than people from more rural areas. His mother was from Michoacan state, which like Puebla, had very gifted cooks. The family demanded local, quality ingredients and his father taught them all to taste the main type of food and not to try and mask it, so simple quality was always on the table.

There are many fillings for tamales. Some familiar and classic and some not so much. As with all Great Ethnic Home Cooks one must start with a great foundation in order to spread your proverbial cooking wings. Carlos started with an incredibly classic filling; Chile Verde which translates to "stewed pork in a green sauce."

Ingredients for the Meat
 

Meat: 1 kg pork butt, I like local and/or organic cut into a small dice around ¼ cubes
2 tablespoons lard or olive oil
2 tablespoons No. 7 Dried Spice Blend or 1 tablespoon of Cumin
1 smashed garlic clove
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Method

In a pot, add lard or oil and warm. Add pork and turn heat to medium. You almost want to blanche the meat, not brown it. Add salt, pepper and garlic. After 10 minutes add the Salsa Verde below. Cover and simmer for approximately two hours or until pull apart melting, tender. Allow to cool.



Salsa Verde

5 peeled Tomatillos, quartered
1 medium onion, quartered
1 clove of Garlic
3 tablespoons of No. 7 Jalapeño Hot Sauce, (which is actually mild on the hot sauce scale)
1 bunch of washed and roughly chopped Cilantro (optional but I think it is a must)
¼ cup water

Method
Add all ingredients to a blender, blend until smooth and pour over the meat at the correct time in the recipe above.

I love this sauce. It is tangy, not overly hot and packed with flavour. Do this same recipe with chicken or turkey, a favourite bird in Mexico, I also think it would be insanely good on a baked piece of white fish or just dip homemade taco chips into it.

Let’s put these babies together and you will see how easy they really are.

In your hand, place a corn husk with the outer side down. Take a heaping tablespoon of masa and coat the entire husk except 1 inch of the narrow tip in a 1/8-inch smear of the masa. Add a tablespoon of the pork running vertical along the masa leaving a little folding room on each end. One side will have more masa exposed - fold this side in halfway, now the narrow base and then the other side. Seal the top by squeezing it together. If you don’t have enough masa to seal the top just add a bit like glue. Stand all the little tamales in a bowl until they are all done. This recipe should yield you around 25 tamales. Once they are all complete, place them in a steamer standing upright so the filling doesn’t ooze out. If need be in your pot just add a little bowl or some such thing to fill in the extra space if there is any.

Tamales need to steam over a low heat for two hours. Check them after an hour and a half by opening one up and giving a taste. The filling should be soft yet firm and taste cooked.
To serve the tamales, make sure to add some of the Salsa Verde or No.7 Jalapeño Hot Sauce and some Crema in a squeeze bottle. Crema is a thinner, saltier version of sour cream. I think thinned-out sour cream with a pinch of salt works perfectly.  

Last but certainly not least is Cotija, a cheese similar to Paneer or Halloumi used to grate on top of the tamal. Take a steamed hot tamal and remove the husk. Place it on a plate and spoon over a good amount of Salsa Verde then a pretty little drizzle of Crema and a dusting of Cotija.