Making Tamales…

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Hello, sweet friends…

When I first came up with the idea of making tamales during the holidays I thought it was because the idea of trying something new sounded appealing. Once I began the whole process I realized it was more…linking me to a much bigger picture by connecting me to people who have come before me giving me a sense of security, belonging, & identity Making tamales during the holidays had been a ritual in my family when I was growing up and as I worked in my kitchen that afternoon it brought back memories of the past.Those early players of making tamales have changed (my grandmother & father) however the tradition remained that afternoon. Beginning with those first steps of shopping for ingredients to arriving home… organizing the corn husks, cheese, chili, butter etc. to finally preparing the tamales for cooking. I came to realize that my desire to make tamales this holiday season came from a deeper place within myself and I realized that with so many changes within my own family… what I was really looking for wasn’t to try something new…but longing for something to connect and ground me to the past those important events in my own life.



  • 1 ¼ cups butter ideally high fat, European style butter
  • 4 cups masa harina 
    • 35 corn husks
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup whole corn kernels fresh or frozen
  • 6 ounces grated jack cheese
  • 8 ounces canned roasted and diced green chiles


  • Place corn husks in a large bowl and cover with very hot water. Weight down with a heavy bowl or other kitchen item and set aside to soften for 30 minutes. Drain well and pat dry.
  • Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat butter on high until very fluffy, light and doubled in size, about 5 minutes.
  • While the butter is beating, whisk together masa harina, salt, baking powder, and cumin in a medium bowl.
  • To a blender pitcher add milk and corn and blend until smooth. Pour over masa harina mixture and stir until well combined into a thick dough.
  • Add masa dough to butter in 2 or 3 additions, mixing on medium-low to combine between each addition. Increase speed to high and mix until light and fluffy, about 8 minutes. Test your masa dough by placing a teaspoon of dough into a glass of cool water, it should float. If not continue to mix the dough and try
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4 Responses to Making Tamales…

  1. Marge says:

    I can certainly identify with longing to reconnect to family memories. My dad’s sisters used to gather just before the holidays and prepare the different kinds of tamales from scratch. Cauldrons of different foods and Mexican cocoa steamed on the stove. It was complex work. In my own multicultural family, as a special treat around the holidays, I ordered a few dozen tamales—pork or beef with red chile, sweet ones with raisins, green chile and cheese from a vendor. I wanted to recreate those happy times. Unfortunately, the rich food doesn’t agree with me or other members, so we no longer partake of them. 🙁

    • Marcia says:

      Hi Marge, and happy New Year! Thank you so much for sharing your sweet memories of your sisters… They are precious. We must have those memories close to our heart. Be safe… And thank you for stopping by. Hugs.

  2. Jose says:

    What a delightful tradition you have started for the holidays!
    And what a wonderful way to honor your family!
    The tamales looked absolutely delicious.
    I feel like I could tackle such a challenging endeavor.
    Happy New Year!

    • Marcia Ren says:

      Hi Jose, Happy New Year!
      yes traditions especially those which involve good food like tamale making is something to aspire to for the new year. Wishing you an amazing 2023!

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