Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Tamales - Steamed corn cakes

If you are looking for a great alternative to potatoes, tamales are really great. They are firm corn dough made from corn flour. They can be stuff with anything you chose. I stuffed mine with sundried tomatoes. Great side dish.

Ingredients for 10 tamales.
Ideally, allow 2 or 3 per person

·         250g coarse corn flour

·         10 sundried tomato pieces
·         12 fresh coriander leaves to decorate
·         Dry oregano
·         Salt
·         3 tablespoons Flavour oil (from sundried tomato jar)
·         250ml boiling water
·         2 table spoons self-rising flour
·         1 fresh corn (just for the leaves)

Start by rinsing the coriander leaves and set aside. Carefully remove one by one the outer leaves of corn cob. Remove any extra “corn hair” rinse the leaves and flick out the water. The number of leave on the corn cob can vary from 8-12…

Slice the pieces of sundried tomato in 2 - 3 to make the thinner. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, pour the corn flour, the self-rising flour, a pinch of salt and oregano. Mix all the dry elements together then, add the boiling water, flavoured oil and knead the dough using a spatula until you obtain the consistency of a cookie dough.

Now lay flat all the corn leaves on a flat surface. On each leave, place 1 coriander leave, then top with the equivalent of 2 tablespoons of corn dough. Flatten the dough on the corn leave and place on it 2-3 pieces of sundried tomato. Now bring together all the edges of the corn leave as if make a rolled cigarette. Fold the edge together and finish folding by over flapping both ends of the corn leaves.
You can either hold the parcels together with a tooth pick or simply put the parcel aside face down.

Repeat until all the parcel are done.

If you’ve got a steamer, use it to cook the tamales. If not, Place all the tamale parcel in an oven proof dish and place the dish in a big enough pan with a lid. Without a steamer, it is best to cook the tamales in a Bain Marie.
The idea here is that you will pour some water in the pan, making sure that none of it enters the heat proof dish. The water in the pan should be at about half the height of the dish within the pan. As water boils, it will produce enough heat to cook the tamales. For the size of the tamales made in the recipe, you should allow 20 minutes for them to be cooked through.

To check that the tamales are ready, they should be harder and if pricked with the tip of the knife, just like the test for a cake, the knife should come out dry. The secret is to keep the steam to the max in the pan. Make sure to top up the water as it dries out.

Tamales are great replacement for rice or potatoes. Feel free to dip fry the left overs to give them a crispier outer layer…
They are to be eaten without the corn leaves obviously.

Note: Using corn leaves add to the taste of the Tamales. In the absence of corn leaves, use banana leaves (found in the local ethnic or Chinese supermarkets) or simply kitchen foil.


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