Sunday, March 1, 2009

Trim the fat not the flavor . . . tamales!


When we first made the Chili Chicken Taco recipe in the crock-pot, we had the idea of trying it as a tamale filling!  We’ve never made tamales before, so this was an adventure to say the least.  It was actually pretty easy and didn’t take too long since the filling was already cooked in the crock-pot and ready to go by the time we got home. 

I searched for recipes for the basic tamale dough and settled with one from CookingLight.  Many of the ones I searched for on other sites called for a whopping one cup of vegetable shortening!  I just couldn’t do it, and I don’t think I’ll be ordering 100_2394tamales from a traditional Mexican restaurant for awhile!  Although these tamales weren’t your traditional flaky, trans-fat laden goodness, they still were pretty good and could be incorporated into a healthy meal plan.  I served non-fat Greek style yogurt and salsa verde on the side for dipping.   


100_2399I’m not much of a beer drinker, but I do love the Pyramid Apricot Ale, and this beer goes really well with spiced Mexican and Mediterranean food. 

These tamales are great for leftovers and freeze really well.   Chris even had one for breakfast as huevos rancheros topped with an egg, refried beans and a sprinkling of cheese.

Chili Chicken Tamales   

For the masa dough:

  • 3 cups masa harina
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp butter (I will try it with vegetable shortening next time?)
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1- 1 1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup water  
  • 16 corn husks (soaked in warm water for 30 minutes)
  • salsa verde and non-fat greek yogurt for dipping


To prepare the dough, combine masa and 1 tsp salt in a large bowl.  Add butter and oil; stir well.  Add broth and water; stir until soft dough forms.

100_2391Working with one husk, place about 1/4 cup masa dough (depending on the size of the husk) in the center of the husk; press into a 4 x 3 inch rectangle.  Spoon about 3 tbsp chicken mixture down on one side of the dough.  Using the corn husk, roll up, jelly-roll style; fold bottom ends of husk under.  Repeat procedure with the rest of the husks and place in a steamer (we used a bamboo one), and steam for 45-50 minutes, or until the dough is firm.  Remove from steamer and let stand for 5 minutes.  Serve with your favorite condiments!

Here are some assembly pictures:














We had just a little leftover dough and decided to try to make tortillas for a little appetizer while we waited for the tamales to steam.  They actually turned out really good and crispy!  We just rolled the dough flat and sautéed them until golden in a little canola oil.



What are your tricks to making recipes with a better nutritional profile?


Emily said...

Kristen, those look great! Where did you find masa harina?

Mo said...

Oh, those look soooo good! I love tamales as well, but have been to intimidated at the process to make them myself. Great job lightening them up!

kristen :) said...

I actually found the masa harina and corn husks at our local wal-mart store. They have an entire isle dedicated to ethnic foods which is really great!