If you’re a fan of Mexican cuisine, you’ve likely come across tamales. These delicious treats are made of masa (corn dough) filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables, wrapped in a corn husk, and steamed until cooked. Traditionally, tamales are cooked in a steamer, but not everyone has one at home. Fortunately, there are several ways to cook tamales without a steamer. In this article, we’ll explore different methods to cook tamales at home using common kitchen equipment.
Before we dive into the different ways of cooking tamales without a steamer, let’s briefly discuss what tamales are. Tamales are a traditional Mexican dish that dates back to the pre-Columbian era. They were originally made by the Aztecs, who filled them with turkey or venison and wrapped them in corn husks. Tamales have since evolved to include a variety of fillings, including pork, chicken, beef, cheese, and vegetables.
Tamales are typically served during special occasions and holidays, such as Christmas and Dia de los Muertos. They’re also a staple food in many households and can be enjoyed as a snack or a meal. The process of making tamales can be time-consuming, but the end result is well worth the effort. Once you’ve mastered the art of making tamales, you can experiment with different fillings and variations to find your perfect recipe.
How to Cook Tamales Without a Steamer
Before you start cooking tamales, you need to prepare them first. If you’re using dried corn husks, you’ll need to soak them in warm water for at least 30 minutes to soften them. Once the husks are soft, rinse them in cold water and pat them dry.
Next, prepare the filling for the tamales. You can use any filling you like, such as pork, chicken, beef, cheese, or vegetables. Make sure the filling is cooked and seasoned to your liking before adding it to the masa.
Finally, prepare the masa. If you’re using masa harina (corn flour), mix it with water, salt, and a bit of vegetable oil until it forms a smooth dough. If you’re using fresh masa, mix it with lard, salt, and a bit of baking powder until it’s light and fluffy.
Cooking in a Pot
One of the easiest ways to cook tamales without a steamer is to use a large pot. To do this, place a few inches of water at the bottom of the pot and insert a metal colander or a steaming basket. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the colander or basket.
Next, arrange the tamales vertically in the colander, open side up, and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and let the tamales steam for 1-2 hours, depending on the size and thickness of the tamales.
Cooking in a Crockpot
Another way to cook tamales without a steamer is to use a crockpot. To do this, place a few inches of water at the bottom of the crockpot and insert a metal colander or a steaming basket. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the colander or basket.
Next, arrange the tamales vertically in the colander, open side up, and cover the crockpot with a tight-fitting lid. Cook the tamales on high heat for 3-4 hours or on low heat for 6-8 hours, depending on the size and thickness of the tamales.
Cooking tamales in a crockpot is a great option if you want to cook them overnight or while you’re away from home.