Tamale-making has always seemed intimidating to me. The slow-cooked, savory taste that I love about these little packages is one of my favorite things in the world...but always thought of tamales as a "purchase only" food. Not anymore.
In the Early Summer edition of Edible SLO Magazine (I am a contributing photographer), I discovered this lovely diagram for making tamales at home. It really is this easy (though I have my own techniques for braising the pork)...
Without any meat on this day, we decided to make do with the ingredients at hand, corn, black beans, and cilantro. When making carnitas for my pork tamales, I'll use the super tasty braising liquid when making the masa dough. On this vegetarian day, I had to improvise a flavor enhancer for the masa...enter in spoonfuls of salsa and chopped cilantro. Delish!
Here is a simple list of ingredients I used for the filling, you can experiment and use what sounds good to you. Please refer to Edible SLO's diagram above for the "method". I really had no idea what I was doing when I made tamales for the first time, but it's such a simple concept that even I was able to make them a success!
Ingredients for Roasted Corn & Black Bean Talmale Filling
3 cups roasted corn kernels
3 cups black beans
1/2-3/4 cup of your favorite salsa (we used a mango/pineapple salsa)
1/4 c masa flour
Salt, Pepper, Garlic to taste
Combine these ingredients in a large saucepan, simmer to bring flavors together. Allow to cool before spooning into masa dough.