Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Done. Much easier then I thought it would be as well.
I have never made tamales before and to be honest not a huge fan. However, Derek and Abby always adored Christmas tamales years ago when she was able to eat corn many years ago. (we were told she had "outgrown" her allergies- HA! Not really)
Part of knowing you cannot have a certain food is craving it. All of us will always have moments of wanting what we cannot have.
To my surprise these turned out great. Derek, Sara and Abby said "Please, Make AGAIN!"
I am very satisfied knowing that a very traditionally corn based favorite food can be made corn free and taste just as good.
My "wrapping" needs work! But, despite their varying sizes and shapes they worked out well. About halfway through I had managed to find the "best" method. So if you make them cut yourself some slack, even if they don't look perfect, they will taste just fine.
I followed a few different websites that explained making tamales so really not a recipe but a list of my substitutions.
1) Instead of corn husks I used dried bamboo leaves I found at the Asian market.
These worked great! Just like a corn husk they need to be softened in boiling water. Where corn husks can take an hour, the bamboo leaves were pliable within 10 minutes. I will warn you though, they smell a lot like tea while they boil. I was worried they would flavor my tamales, but to my relief they did not.
2)When making the masa I used a 75 percent millet flour to 25 percent toasted chickpea flour. I should have held back about 1/4 of the millet and ground it coarsely to offer a more authentic texture but I forgot. They still turned out terrific. It is important to toast your besan flour before adding it. Chickpea flour can have a very beany and unpleasant flavor when raw, even cooked the flavor is just better when toasting before using. Very easy, pour it in a dry pan and on high stir it around till it starts to turn golden and you can smell it. I forgot to mention that instead of lard I used palm shortening. I thought about coconut oil, but most of the tamale recipes recommend "whipping" the lard to improve the texture of the masa, coconut oil won't whip, but palm shortening will.
3) I used a chicken filling because Abby cannot eat pork or beef and it worked great. I did not really follow a recipe but more added what I wanted. I boiled a whole chicken and shredded the chicken. I used the broth from the chicken for my Masa. I added sauteed garlic, onion to the shredded chicken. I roasted some poblano chilies and diced and added those to my chicken mix. I added some fresh toasted and ground cumin seed, a dash of cayenne, and salt and pepper. I made the filling first before proceeding to the masa and the rolling.
4) Tamales are steamed. I don't have a "tamale steamer" I suspect most don't. I threw a rack in the bottom of a tall pot and added water and set the tamales upright in the pot.(it is okay if the water touches the bottoms of your tamales) I steamed for about 80 minutes. With chickpea flour being used I really wanted to make sure they were cooked. You can pull one at 45 minutes to see if it is ready or not.
Not too hard at all! :-)