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Old 08-02-2019, 12:58 PM   #1
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ISO: Favourite Tamale filling recipes/combos?

I am wondering if DCers have favourite tamale filling recipes? I like TVP with black beans and chili, pulled pork, chicken. Planning on making a batch while Dad's away (easy lunch food for my Mom) next weekend.
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Old 08-02-2019, 12:59 PM   #2
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I have never had a tamale, so I am interested in learning more.
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Old 08-02-2019, 02:45 PM   #3
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Nice to see you back, CWS. I like to use pork carnitas meat in tamales - I like it saucy filling. I've also used chopped cooked chicken mixed with mole sauce. I love tamales. I also like to put whole corn kernels in the masa.
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Old 08-02-2019, 08:17 PM   #4
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I like roasted poblano peppers, corn, onions, garlic and cheese, then with a green sauce to serve. The onions get cooked until starting to caramelize, then add in corn, then garlic. Cool, add in some crema and grated cheese, a Mexican melting cheese of some sort. I usually add in some ground cumin along the way, with salt and pepper of course.

I add in just lightly cooked fresh or frozen corn that has been lightly ground in the food processor to my made as well.
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Old 08-03-2019, 12:48 AM   #5
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I don't think of tamales as an easy food, but they are good! I have put many things in them, but the best ones, no matter what the filling is, have some lard added to the masa, along with some broth, as the liquid. Not sure if you can get it where you are, but in Mexican grocers they have a coarse masa harina made just for the tamales. And besides the corn husks, some taste even better in banana leaves, as they give some flavor to the masa.

I have used pulled pork and chicken, moistened with some moles - whatever I had in the freezer. I have also made one with squash blossoms, some with mushrooms, some with a chard filling - just about anything I could put in a taco or enchilada (as long as it's not too saucy), and a salsa, with some crema, to finish it.
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Old 08-03-2019, 01:01 AM   #6
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Pepperhead, a bit of backstory. Once the tamale are steamed, I freeze them and reheat in the microwave. My Mom is 87, non-ambulatory, non-verbal. Easy lunch means two things: easy to get ready when the caregiver arrives and easy to feed her. Lunches are the most challenging--my 88-yr. old Dad controls the grocery list/pantry contents. He is also a very, very picky eater and doesn't get it that what he eats for lunch (soup, sandwiches) are hard to feed my Mom. She no longer can use her hands. I am really challenged to figure out a nutritious lunch for her based on the ingredients on hand and the her dietary restrictions. When my Dad is away, that's when I take over the kitchen and make food he won't eat. He hates having leftovers in the fridge. He is very, very rigid in his ways and what he will eat. At the cabin, Mom and I eat very differently than when we are all together. I tried perogi, but he didn't like those. He doesn't like Mexican, Indian, or Japanese food. So, I make curry when he's gone, etc. Unfortunately, he doesn't go away that often. For someone who loves playing in the kitchen as much as I do, meals have become a real challenge.
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Old 08-03-2019, 01:24 PM   #7
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Thanks for the ideas, everyone. My culinary brain has been on snooze while caring for the Elders. I have sense of deja vu. I am back in my childhood eating the foods my Dad liked. Small wonder my Mom hated to cook. There are about 14 different meals he will eat. I am soooooooooo bored with their 14-day rotation. Meatloaf (always the same, no variations alloweds--true for everything), pork chops, always with pineapple, beef stroganoff, venison, steak, beef roast, pasta salad, potato salad, stir fry, Spanish rice, chicken, skinless breast only, burgers, salmon, sometimes cod, walleye if it is fresh caught, not frozen. I go on strike sometimes and tell him if he doesn't like it, there's a pantry and freezer full of food. He has two legs, two hands, and can read directions. My Mom doesn't.
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Old 08-11-2019, 06:31 PM   #8
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Ended up making the vegan tamales since I had some TVP in my stash. They turned out darned good.

https://www.veganblueberry.com/vegan-tamales/
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Old 01-11-2020, 10:04 PM   #9
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Ended up making the vegan tamales since I had some TVP in my stash. They turned out darned good.

https://www.veganblueberry.com/vegan-tamales/
One of my Mom's caregivers came out to make tamales again with me. She was away for the Christmas holidays when my dear Momma died, but because we had made tamales, and Momma gobbled them up when my Dad was away in August, I wanted to do this again with her. We both agreed the batch we made today were better than the first batch. She is in her last semester in the RN program at the local university. She is from North Pole, Alaska. Her Mom will be coming down for graduation and is envious that her daughter has learned to make tamales, kimchi, perogies, and other things while her daughter was caring for my Mom (she is the person who stayed at the house while I was back in Ontario). Now we are planning to make even a better batch of tamales when her Mom flies down for graduation in May. We might make a road trip to get banana leaves! You never know how special a person whose path crosses yours will be. Love this gal.
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Old 01-13-2020, 05:20 AM   #10
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Traditional is traditional from family to family, region to region. Tamales from Argentinal are different than tamales for Mexico for instance. Remember, the filling isn't the star. It's there to enhance the tamale flavor. A tamale is all about the corn shell, and sauce. Pork is the most used filling, either shredded, or pulled, and mixed with a little minced onion, and mole, or peppers. Cuin is often used, as is coriander, with salt and pepper.

I have had desert tamales, filled with brown sugar, and raisins, served with a sweet sauce on top. They wore very good.

Instead of using corn husks,, or banana skins, which aren't always readily available, I simple cut a suitable sized piece of parchment paper, spread the dough, put in the filling, and roll them up. I steam them until they are done, and they come out wonderful.

Whatever protein you choose to use, make sure it is minced, or shredded sufficiently to easily roll into the tamale.

Just for a change, you might try a cheese filling, maybe some queso-blanco, or Manchego, or even feta with brie. Cottage cheese, well drained and mixed with herbs is a great flavor as well. And don't forget the wonders that can be made with simple ground beef, seasoned just right and cooked over open charcoal, then minced, with added lime juice, cilantro, sweet bell peppers, and minced onion. Or, a good skirt steak made the same way, then all minced to make the filling, yum.

Chicken, turkey, duck, goose, rabbit, and any wild game, such as venison, elk, bear, squirrel, etc. can be used for a rich filling as well.

So there's a few ideas for you to ponder.

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Old 01-13-2020, 07:37 AM   #11
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Instead of using corn husks,, or banana skins, which aren't always readily available, I simple cut a suitable sized piece of parchment paper, spread the dough, put in the filling, and roll them up. I steam them until they are done, and they come out wonderful.
Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
The caregiver (the daughter I would have always wanted--she is so much like me and like my dear Momma) did bring parchment paper (the roll in the pantry would have made six or eight), but we had enough corn husks. I was thinking of using aluminum foil...the text she sent me Saturday evening was that she was surprised at how easy tamales are to make...that is, of course, if you aren't making 300-400 hundred! We just do enough to fill the steamer pot once. Great suggestions for fillings! I like the TVP because it is "finely minced."
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Old 01-13-2020, 08:21 AM   #12
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I don't think of tamales as an easy food, but they are good! I have put many things in them, but the best ones, no matter what the filling is, have some lard added to the masa, along with some broth, as the liquid. Not sure if you can get it where you are, but in Mexican grocers they have a coarse masa harina made just for the tamales. And besides the corn husks, some taste even better in banana leaves, as they give some flavor to the masa.

I have used pulled pork and chicken, moistened with some moles - whatever I had in the freezer. I have also made one with squash blossoms, some with mushrooms, some with a chard filling - just about anything I could put in a taco or enchilada (as long as it's not too saucy), and a salsa, with some crema, to finish it.
I've never heard of using "coarse masa harina" for tamale dough. Most grocery stores in my area carry Manteca. Leaf lard is much harder to find.
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ISO: Favourite Tamale filling recipes/combos? I am wondering if DCers have favourite tamale filling recipes? I like TVP with black beans and chili, pulled pork, chicken. Planning on making a batch while Dad's away (easy lunch food for my Mom) next weekend. 3 stars 1 reviews
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