Tamales are one of the best Mexican dishes. It is a rich source of essential proteins, vitamins, and minerals. When you get the right recipe, you will enjoy a perfect dish. Steaming tamales mean you can avoid overcooked and undercooked dish. An undercooked dish is usually pasty and gummy, which can cause foodborne diseases. Making tamale is easy with masa or dough as well as you can either cook or steam it.
Why you should steam tamales
Many people like to steam tamales due to their abundant moisture content. The primary reason for steaming tamales is to make them moist, soft, and delicious. You must steam the tamale for at least 30 minutes or at most 60 minutes.
If you have bought the frozen tamale from the supermarket, you can then steam them for about 15 minutes. The duration of steaming depends on the condition of the tamale. For example, their warmness, frozen, and cold condition.
While steaming the tamale, make sure they do not come in contact with water directly. Otherwise, the water will make the tamale soggy. You can carry out the process in a steamer. However, if you don’t have the equipment, then you can use other methods.
Use Aluminum Foil
If you don’t have a steamer at home, you can purchase an aluminum foil. It is important to start by scrunching the tamale into a ball of two inches, both in height and width. After you have finished with the first ball, you can make two more balls of a similar size.
Now, arrange three balls into a triangular shape and place them in a large pot. Make sure you have a large pot as it allows the plate to fill in. Also, the pot must have a lid. After placing the plate in the pot, it must leave a one-inch gap. Make sure you the pot supports the plat and the balls arranged at the edge of the pot.
Keep in mind to have a heat-proof plate because some plates melt when exposed to high heat. You can use a thick glass or ceramic plate. Now, add some water into the pot and make sure it is one inch below the plate. Thus, you can avoid tamales to come in contact with the water once it starts boiling.
Check the balance of the plate and make all necessary adjustments in case the plate is out of balance. Take your tamales and place them accurately on the plate. The open part of the tamale should face upward. Also, you can pile your tamales on each other. It is beneficial when you decide to cook many tamales.
Place the pot on the stove
After you have carefully placed your tamales on the plate, it is time to put the pot on the stove. You must do this carefully and do not allow the pot to shake. Cover the pot with a lid so that the water inside it boils fast.
After the water boils, you must reduce the heat to the lower settings. The lid placed on the pot will trap all the heat and the moisture. Thus, it helps in boosting the process of steaming. You will see that the tamale is ready within 60 minutes.
So, always have a timer so that you can keep track of the time. Sometimes, the water dries before the time. Therefore, you have to pour some water up to one inch below the plate. Moreover, check your tamales after 60 minutes.
Then, remove them from the pot using a tong. Place them on the plate. They are typically very hot. So make sure you leave them for at least 10 minutes before eating them. Don’t forget to unwrap the plantain or corn husk before munching it.
Many people use a knife and fork to eat the tamales. However, the majority of people enjoy eating it with their hands. You can enjoy tamales the way you want, and there are no restrictions in this regard.
Use Metal Strainer
Using a metal strainer is another way to steam your tamales. Unlike the steamer, the strainer is a bit hard to use. First, you need to boil some water and then suspend the colander or strainer over it.
If the lid of the pot does not fit adequately, it means the pot will lose the heat. Thus, it won’t be able to retain the moisture. So, to avoid this, make sure you have a lid that fits on top of the pot accurately.
Use bowl and chopstick
Take a pot and then add some water in it. The next step is to boil the water. Make sure the bowl is slightly smaller than the pot’s circumference. Now, place your bowl upside down in the stockpot. Arrange 5-6 chopsticks at the bottom of the bowl. Once done, you have to arrange the tamales on top of the chopsticks without stacking them.
Use the oven for steaming
You can use an oven to steam your tamales. A casserole dish with a lid is likewise very important for carrying out the process adequately. Make sure the temperature is set to the lowest in the oven. Check the recipe and then prepare the tamales accordingly.
Now, place a steam rack in the oven. If you don’t have a high-quality oven, such as the Dutch oven, then you can use a large casserole dish. Such a dish with a lid serves as a great alternative.
Next, arrange your tamale on top of the steam rack. Make sure the folded end of the tamale face down. Use some boiling water and pour it in your casserole dish. Then place a lid on it. If you are using the Dutch oven, then leave it for 30 minutes to steam. Don’t raise the temperature. Otherwise, the high heat will ruin your tamales.
The medium heat in your oven will make the water to steam and enable the tamales to stay warm. Once the process completes, you must remove the tamales and allow the steam to escape.
How to arrange the tamale
Expert cooks say there are two methods to arrange the tamale. First, you can lay you tamales down and pill them on each other. Also, you can place your tamales vertically to make sure their opening face upwards.
The other method is to arrange your tamales horizontally. Make sure that corn husk faces upwards. Keep in mind that tamales cook faster at the end than in the middle. So, you have to make sure they cook properly and must not allow them to overcook.
As you can see, there are various ways to steam tamales if you don’t have a steamer at home. You can use an oven, heat-proof bowl or plate, chopstick, and metal strainer to steam your tamales.
Tamales are a rich source of essential nutrients that support your body function. It is important to avoid putting them in water. Otherwise, they will become soggy. Because there are different methods, we can’t tell which one is the best.
However, all of them are effective. Choosing a method to steam your tamales depend on your preference and convenience. You can enjoy the mouthwatering dish using any of the above methods.