Making Yucatecan tamales is not difficult, but it is a very time consuming process. It can take a whole day to prepare a large batch of tamales but what emerges from the steamer at the end of the process is a glorious representation of the flavors of Yucatán.
- 6 cups of “masa harina”
- 5 cups warm water or low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups lard
- 3 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoon cumin
- 3 tablespoon chile powder
- 3 teaspoons salt
- .50 lb of Pig’s Lard
- 2 Cups of Annatto (Achiote)
- Banana leaves
In a mixing bowl combine “masa” (dough) and warm water or broth until combined. Let the mixture sit for 20 minutes or until the “masa” softens. Then mix it on low speed until the dough forms.
After the “Masa Harina” is prepared, gradually add salt, cumin and onion powder by sprinkling them over the dough as you mix it.
In a separate bowl, whip lard or shortening for three minutes or until fluffy. Add the lard to the dough a little at a time while mixing until it’s well combined.
The mixture should have the consistency of peanut butter. If not, add more “Masa Harina”, water or broth as necessary.
Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
To fill the tamale:
Mix the lard with the tamale dough, add some of the cochinita’s broth, knead the dough for ten minutes until all the ingredients are well combined, add salt and knead for 2 more minutes.
Cut out the banana leaves in the shape of a square, about 4×4 inches each, pass the banana leaves over the flame of the stove, to heat them a little bit, so you can fold them without tearing them.
Divide the dough in small portions and place them in each one of the banana leaf squares, as if they were a tortilla, place the cochinita pibil in the center, fold just one side as if closing the dough, fold the other side and then you fold the leaf again to close it, cook for an hour and a half in a steamer.
NOTE.- If you prefer, you can use chicken, turkey, or beef instead of cochinita pibil.
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