Friday, January 11, 2013

Low carb tamales

Here you see them all rolled up (my first four tamales ever!)

Tamales ready to eat-- including the littlest tamale ever

When I was younger, my mother was married to a man who owned a tamale factory.  Before my mom married into the tamale family, I had never had a tamale, and I was not prepared for such culinary delight.  Further, these weren't just any tamales.  These tamales were amazing.  I didn't even know that you are supposed to steam tamales before eating; I could happily microwave these things and then enjoy bliss, pure bliss.  I only wonder how good they might have been had I known about steaming.  So many lost opportunities....

One of the interesting parts of this tamale-factory-owning family is that my sister and I ended up hocking tamales at Rice University football games.  My stepfather seemed to quite enjoy mortifying us by yelling a voce forte "Hot tamales!  Get your HOT tamales!"  Sis and I groaned, rolled our eyes, and handed over tamales to lucky purchasers.

I myself would eventually get a break--and my own share of piping hot tamales.  There was nothing quite like watching football with soft masa goodness in the brisk fall air.  Ahhhhhh.

I did a little happy dance when I found out that even now, eschewing high carbs as I am, I can have tamales.  I made these in well under an hour (since the meat was made in the crockpot, which doesn't count), and Tom and I feasted happily.  One note:  the "masa" is a little sweet due to the coconut.  Using a great savory filling like sharp cheddar would be AWESOME.  Pork was good, but I think I need to pump it up a little next time, and I foresee roasted poblanos and sharp cheddar.  I also was too hungry to make the sauce, so tomorrow I will make the chile sauce and report back.

I often rephrase the recipes I cook into the simplest possible language, but the original recipe actually puts things very plainly in an easy-to-follow fashion, so I simply give you the link.  I'll also give you the ingredients.  Trust me, easy peasy.  Also, instead of non-hydrogenated lard, I simply used some bacon drippings.  That worked perfectly well.

One note on assembly:  you place the masa along the long edge of the husks and then roll in such a way that you are not fighting the grain of the leaf.  When you are finished rolling, the lines/veins/ridges should run the length of the tamale, not be really short and across the tamale.   It should fold easily-- folding it the "wrong way" is hard to do and feels awkward because you're fighting the husk. I hope that makes sense!


2 cans baby corn
1/2 c coconut flour, sifted
1 oz lard/bacon grease
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ancho chile powder
1/2 tsp salt

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