Basic Whipped or Beaten Masa
This style masa is used for Tex-Mex, southwestern style, northern and central Mexican style, and many of the commercially available tamales in the United States. After cooking, results can vary from slightly chewy to firm and compact to light and fluffy, depending on the fresh or dry corn or masa harina that is used to start, the amount and type of fat added and beating method.
- 11/4 cups pork lard, butter, or vegetable shortening
- 1 teaspoon salt (if using canned broth, eliminate salt)
- 31/2 cups Masa for Tamales (recipe follows)
- 2 to 21/2 cups chicken, pork OR vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup chile sauce from the tamale recipe (optional)
Using a stand or hand-held mixer or by hand, whip lard until fluffy, about 1 minute or so. Add salt and continue beating while adding Masa for Tamales in 2-ounce pieces (about 1 inch) and waiting a few seconds between each addition while continuing to mix. When about 1/2 of masa is mixed in well, start alternating masa with broth until all of masa is used along with about 2 cups broth. Add chile sauce or any other additions and whip until light and fluffy, adding more broth if the mixture seems dry. Sufficiently beating the masa with the fat and liquid is essential to achieving a proper texture, but try not to over-beat.
To test if the masa is ready, try to float 1/2 teaspoon in a cup of cold water. If it doesn’t float, it is usually due to insufficient mixing (unless you didn’t use enough fat). Simply whip a few more minutes and test again. Often, adding a bit more of the chicken broth during this second mixing will also help with the floating test, but avoid adding too much liquid.
Proceed to fill and wrap the tamales as directed in each recipe. Makes 5 cups, enough for 24 tamales.
Masa for Tamales: Mix together 31/2 cups masa harina (tamale grind or a mix of tamale and tortilla grind) and 21/2 cups fairly hot water (140 to 160+ degrees). Cover and let stand at least 30 minutes. May be refrigerated and kept up to two days. Makes 31/2 cups, enough for 24 tamales.
Per serving: 163 calories; 11 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 61 percent calories from fat); 14 g carbohydrates; 10 mg cholesterol; 92 mg sodium; 2 g protein; 2 g fiber.