Using The Steam Function
How To Assemble The Tamales
Hold one corn husk with the pointed end facing you.
Scoop a portion of the masa onto the husk, then wet your fingers and spread the masa into a large square.
Add a scoop of pork on top of the masa. Its easier to wrap the tamales if the pork is in a straight line on the mesa.
Roll one side of the husk towards the middle, then bring the other side up. Make sure that the mesa is touching in the middle.
Place the husk, seam down and fold the bottom tip under towards the seam.
Wrap a piece of the shredded husk to tie the tamales together, holding the folded tip in place.
Repeat with each of the husks.
Place the steamer rack into the pressure cooker and add at least one cup of water to fill the base of the cooker. You want the water to come up to the bottom of the rack.
Carefully place the tamales vertically into the pressure cooker, open side up.
Set the seal and pressure cook for 20 minutes.
The Best Way To Reheat Tamales
I dont actually make homemade tamales myself, but every Christmas season, I order a dozen homemade tamales from a woman in my church who makes them, and they are amazing!
So when its time for us to eat them, I want to reheat them the best possible way, which is steaming!
Because lets be honestif you or someone else took the time to make delicious homemade tamales, you certainly want to reheat them the best way.
When you reheat tamales in the Instant Pot, the moist steaming environment helps to keep the tamales nice and tender, exactly as they should be!
I admit, I used to just reheat them in the microwave, and the fact isthats the fastest way to do it if youre in a hurry.
But, I think using the Instant Pot is the best way to reheat tamales, because steaming them preserves their texture so well.
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Slow Cooker Tamale Steaming Option:
Tamales are meant to have the dough steam cooked. If you want to use your slow cooker, it is critical to make a steam barrier to keep the tamales out of the water at the bottom of the cooker.
Pre-heat your slow cooker on high heat and line the sides of the slow cooker all the way around with aluminum foil. Pour in 3 1/2 cups water into slow cooker. Next, take an aluminum pie tin and poke holes all around the bottom of the pie tin. Place the pie tin upside down in the slow cooker so it creates a rack for the tamales to stay out of the water while steaming. Place the tamales in the slow cooker standing them upright . Do not overcrowd the tamales as they need room for the dough to expand while steaming. Cover the tops of the tamales with extra corn husks, then cover the top with a layer of aluminum foil to help trap in the steam.
Place the lid on top and find something heavy to weight down the lid to hold in the steam. Cook the tamales on high heat for 4 1/2 to 6 hours. Check the tamales after 4 hours. The tamale dough is done cooking when the corn husk wrappers easily pull away. If not, then continue cooking and checking every 45 minutes until the dough is cooked.
Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Tamale Steaming Instructions:
Tamale dough can steam cook in the pressure cook in a reduced amount of time.
What About The Husks
Corn husks or banana leaves are used to encase the tamale and keep them in their structure. Husks can often be quite stiff, so it is recommended to wash them thoroughly and peel them apart in cold water to loosen them up.
They have to stick around the tamale properly, otherwise the structure will fall apart, so they must be malleable to do so.
Once cleaned and separated, put them in a pot of water, bring it to boil, then let them sit in the hot water for one to two hours until they are soft. This is to fully ensure that they are pliable enough for the tamales. There is not much of a difference between using corn husks or banana leaves other than preference. If you are using banana leaves, make sure to defrost them under cold water if they are frozen. Cut away the edges of the leaves.
Like with corn husks, keep them in warm water for up to an hour until they have softened.
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Make The Tamales Filling
Add 2 tablespoons of oil to your Instant Pot. Press the Sauté button and sear the meat on all sides until slightly browned .
Pour in the chili sauce, salt, and 1/2 cup of water. Cook on high for 40 minutes then naturally release for 15 minutes.
Transfer only the meat to a bowl, then shred it well. The meat should be so tender that this step can be easily done using two forks. Place sauce on a bowl and set everything aside.
How To Reheat Frozen Tamales With A Stovetop Steamer
Steaming is the most traditional and well-known way tamales are cooked, and for good reason. Steaming tamales to reheat ensures that they stay soft and moist. You will, however, want to watch your tamales carefully while steaming. Overly steamed tamales can absorb too much moisture and get quite mushy, fast.
Cooking times will vary based on how hot your steamer is and how many tamales you are heating at one time. For a single layer of tamales, it could take as little as 20 minutes, but for additional tamales, or a cooler steamer, it can take up to 45 minutes. Check the tamales after the first 20 minutes to get an idea of how quickly they are cooking. At this point, you can also rearrange them to ensure even heating.
Want to learn how to cook frozen tamales without a steamer? Keep on reading!
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How To Steam Tamales
How to cook tamales? The most common way of steaming tamales is by using a steamer with multiple compartments. A pressure cooker or slow cooker can do in a pinch. Homemade tamales are amazing, especially pork tamales.
There has to be enough water to create steam without making the tamales wet, and these steamers are designed to keep the tamales above the water level through an effective basket. You want to avoid soggy tamales at all costs, remember.
If you find that you are running out of water throughout this steaming process, feel free to add as much water as you need, but make sure to pour it down the side of the pot as opposed to on top of the tamales.
One tip for knowing if you need more water is to drop a coin down the side if you hear it rattle against the bottom, you need more water.
Stack the tamales with the open tops of the husks facing the opening of the steamer it helps if you make a large batch so they can stand upright for longer.
Make sure to put a heat proof cup in the center to help the tamales balance. Place other husks or clean cloths over the tamales to keep the steam close.
Bring the water to boil and then turn it down to a low heat and start your cooking time. This is the same as preheating an oven the cooking time does not start when you are just beginning to heat up the water!
It takes usually between 1-2 hours to fully cook the tamales just be sure to check around the 1.5 hour mark to see if the masa dough has kept the structure.
Where Did I Go Wrong With My Tamales
Making tamales as a beginner isnt always the easiest thing to do. There is skill and a whole lot of luck involved to make every batch perfect every time.
Truth is, unless youve been making them for years, not every batch will be perfect! Each time you make new tamales, you can figure out where you went wrong.
A common mistake when making tamales is pouring in too much water. Once this water gets to boiling point and flows over the steamer basket or strainer, youve already soaked the bottom of the tamales.
This can make the masa take longer to cook and makes the tamales too moist. To try and combat this, go by your judgement.
You can always add more water by pouring it down the side of the steamer or pan, but its a lot more of a hassle to take water away.
Each recipe will have a different measurement, but remember that your pan or steamer size may be different to theirs, so you have to go by judgement. If your masa seems to be sticking and breaking to your husk or banana leaf, thats a sign that they need more time to be steamed.
If you have kept them in the steamer for long enough, and the masa is still sloppy, you may have used too much lard or oil in the masa recipe.
When you are whipping the masa to the doughy texture, you can gauge how wet the dough is, and you can add more corn flour/masa harina to counteract this.
Do not use cornmeal instead of masa harina, as this will create a crumbly texture. For the best results, use fresh masa, or fino.
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How To Reheat Tamales In Slow Cooker
The easiest method for reheating pre-made tamales in a slow cooker is to simply lay the tamales on a rack. Many pots come with a steaming rack, but if your crock pot is missing this accessory, you could use a colander or steamer basket with legs.
To reheat tamales in a slow cooker: Place a rack in the slow cooker. Add water to the cooker until it reaches just below the surface of the rack. Lay tamales on the rack. If your slow cooker is able, heat the water quickly using the sauté or steam function, then lower the heat to slow cook. Cover and cook on HIGH for about 1-2 hours, or until the tamales reach at least 165 degrees. Once they are thoroughly heated, you can lower the temp to LOW or KEEP WARM.
Note, reheat tamales in the husks or wrappers. If desired, you can place a dishtowel under the lid to absorb water that condenses on the lid.
Other methods to reheat tamales: Wrap cooked tamales in foil and place them in a 350 degree oven allow about 20 minutes for half a dozen. Alternatively, you can reheat tamales individually in their husks over low heat in a skillet. Avoid microwaving tamales, as it can make them tough.
Why This Recipe Works
Instant Pot Tamales are a labor of love, but so worth the effort. A few hours of work will yield enough food to cover dinner for at least a few weeks! Preparing tamales in an Instant Pot makes the job a little easier.
Because it takes a while to make tamales, even Instant Pot Tamales, I recommend preparing the filling, broth, and chili sauce the day before I assemble the tamales. It’s a great way to make the task at hand less daunting.
I usually prepare them by myself. If you have help, you can easily knock it out in a day.
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Four: Prep The Tamale Filling
Now that we have the Intant Pot chicken all cooked, its time to get the final filling put together!
First, shred the chicken. My favorite hack is shredded my chicken with a stand mixer. Just add the paddle attachment on the stand mixer, and mix on medium speed for a few seconds until everything is shredded. Once its all shredded, finely chop the chicken using a knife, so its nice and fine, then set to the side.
Next, were going to make the sauce. Be sure NOT to discard anything from the Instant Pot until after this step.
Remove anaheim peppers and or poblano peppers, onion, and garlic from the Instant Pot and add to a blender, along with ½ cup of chicken stock from the Instant Pot. Add in a pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon of chipotle sauce. Blend together until everything is smooth. Add to the finely chopped chicken and thoroughly mix together.
Now, set this aside & lets get ready to assemble our tamales!
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How To Serve Instant Pot Tamales
- Those Instant Pot tamales with beef can be served for lunch or dinner with some toppings, like cream, queso fresco, and salsa bandera .
- For drinking, you can either choose from our selection of Mexican soft drinks known as Aguas frescas.
- Or, if you prefer, serve as breakfast with no toppings and pairing with some hot drink such as corn atole, champurrado, or mazapan atole.
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Reheating Tamales In A Skillet
A further delicious way to heat your tamales is via skillet. And if this golden tint is your desire, its your way!
- Preheat over gentle heat your big skillet. During cooking, remove the husks of corn on your tamale.
- When heated, add 1 tsp of veg oil or lard. Permit the oil heat first before your tamale also place.
- Arrange the tamales gently on the heated skillet. Fry the tamale on each side for 3 or 4 mines until golden brown. Continue to fry till the tamale are boiling.
Reheat tamales in the Air fryer
Just heat the air fryer to reheat the tamales in the air fryer. Moisten the tamales exterior with a low of water. Insert them in the basket and cook them for five min at medium temperature.
- Lay the tamale and let them stand at room temperature. If you do not have the time to wait, let them sit for 10 minutes first at room temperature.
- Keep the husks of the tamales. Moisten the tamale using a rubbing brush on either edge. When the husks are now gone, immediately dampen the tamales.
- Preheat your fryer to medium temperature.
- Put the tamales in the basket of the air fryers. Make sure you dont overstretch them there must be a gap around them so that air can pass.
- Heat them for 5-8 minutes.
- Very cautious about taking them out of the basket as they might be warm.
How To Fill And Wrap Tamales
Now that your masa dough and pork filling are finished, its time to fill your tamales.
Start by removing two corn husks from the soaking liquid. Lay them flat on a work surface and spread 1/4 cup of masa down the center of the husks. Press the masa into a 4-inch square with a 2 to 3-inch border on the bottom.
Add a heaping tablespoon of pork filling on top of the masa. Lay it in a line down the center of the masa square.
To close the tamale, fold in the sides of the corn husks until they overlap and wrap the husk tightly around the dough. Fold in the bottom of the husk to seal your tamale closed.
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