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Traditional Mexican Red Pork Tamales Recipe

When it comes to Mexican food, homemade tamales are the best!

They’re cheap to make, tasty, and highly customizable with different meat/veg fillings, sauces, garnishes, and seasonings.

Whether it’s Cinco de Mayo, or weeknight dinner, this authentic red pork tamale recipe is fun enough for both a party, and dinner. 

This traditional tamale recipe is made from scratch and features tender shreds of spicy red chile pork wrapped in soft masa dough.

Serve these pork tamales hot with the salsa roja and enjoy!

Ingredients

  • Masa Harina: A type of flour made from ground corn that is used to make the dough for tamales. It is a staple ingredient in tamales and gives them the traditional texture and flavor.
  • Pork shoulder: Cooked and shredded meat, usually pork shoulder is the main filling for the tamales. It is a popular filling option and adds protein to the dish.
  • Onions: A vegetable that is chopped and sautéed, it adds flavor to the pork filling. It’s a common ingredient in many dishes and adds a sweetness and depth of flavor to the filling.
  • Garlic: A common ingredient in many dishes, it is used to add flavor to the pork filling. It’s a flavorful and aromatic ingredient that enhances the overall taste of the tamales.
  • Chili powder: A blend of ground chili peppers, cumin, and other spices, it’s used to season the pork filling and give it a spicy flavor.
  • Cumin: A spice with a warm, earthy flavor, it’s used to season the pork filling and enhance the flavors of the other spices.
  • Oregano: A herb with a strong, pungent flavor, it’s used to season the pork filling and add an herby and earthy taste to it.
  • Black pepper: A spice that is used to season the pork filling and add a bit of heat and flavor.
  • Chicken broth or water: Used to make the dough moist and to add flavor to the filling.
  • Corn husks: Used to wrap the tamales, they add a natural flavor to the dish and protect the tamales while steaming.

Top with cheeses, garnishes, sauces, and seasonings according to your taste.

How to Store Tamales in The Fridge

Tamales can be stored in the refrigerator for several days, but it is best to store them properly to ensure that they remain fresh and delicious.

Here are a few tips for storing tamales in the fridge:

  1. Allow the tamales to cool completely before storing them in the refrigerator.
  2. Place the tamales in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
  3. If you have leftover sauce or filling, store it separately from the tamales to prevent them from becoming soggy.
  4. Tamales can also be stored in a sealed plastic bag and placed in the refrigerator.
  5. Avoid over-storing tamales as it can make them dry and less flavorful.

By following these tips, you can enjoy tasty tamales even after a few days in the fridge.

How to Store Tamales in The Freezer

Tamales can also be stored in the freezer for several months, but it is important to store them properly to maintain their texture and flavor. Here are a few tips for storing tamales in the freezer:

  1. Allow the tamales to cool completely before storing them in the freezer.
  2. Place the tamales in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
  3. Tamales can also be stored in a sealed plastic bag and placed in the freezer.
  4. If you have leftover sauce or filling, store it separately from the tamales to prevent them from becoming soggy.
  5. You can store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Be sure to label the container with the date and type of tamale so you can easily identify them.

By following these tips, you can enjoy tamales even after months of freezing them.

How to Reheat Tamales

There are a few ways to reheat tamales to ensure that they maintain their texture and flavor.

Here are the best way to reheat tamales:

  1. Steaming: Steaming is the best way to reheat tamales as it preserves their texture and moisture. Place the tamales in a steamer basket or tamale steamer and steam them for 10-15 minutes for refrigerated tamales and 20-25 minutes for frozen tamales.
  2. Microwave: To reheat tamales in the microwave, wrap them in a damp paper towel and heat them on high for 1-2 minutes for refrigerated tamales and 2-3 minutes for frozen tamales.
  3. Oven: To reheat tamales in the oven, wrap them in aluminum foil and place them in a preheated 350°F oven for 15-20 minutes for refrigerated tamales and 25-30 minutes for frozen tamales.
  4. Skillet: You can reheat the tamales in a skillet with a little oil or butter over medium heat, turning them occasionally, until they are heated through.

When reheating tamales, be sure to check them frequently to avoid over-heating and drying them out.

If you want to add more moisture to the tamales you can add a little bit of chicken

More Traditional Mexican Recipes

Traditional Mexican Tamales - Steaming Pot

Traditional Mexican Tamales FAQs

What is the secret to moist tamales?

The secret to moist tamales is to use a good quality masa dough, using lard, and adding enough liquid (usually chicken broth or water) to the dough so it is moist but not too wet.

Can you steam tamales too long?

Yes, you can steam tamales too long. If they are steamed for too long, they can become dry and tough. It is important to monitor the tamales while they are steaming and to remove them from the steamer as soon as they are done.

What meat is most common in tamales?

The most common meat used in tamales is pork, but chicken and beef are also commonly used.

What were the original tamales?

The original tamales were made by the ancient Aztecs and Mayans, and were made with a mixture of ground corn and water, and filled with ingredients such as meat, beans, or vegetables.

How are tamales traditionally served?

Tamales are traditionally served steamed or boiled, and are often served with a tamale sauce.

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