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Basic Tamale Dough With Sweet Roasted Corn


  • 2 cups corn kernels, fresh off the cob
  • 1 1/2 cups masa harina
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1/3 cup lard, shortening, or duck fat
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons water
  • 10 fresh corn husks


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook the corn in a Teflon pan, stirring constantly, until it is sweet and golden brown -- you want the natural sugars to come out. Mix the masa, baking powder, salt, and cumin thoroughly together. In another bowl, beat the butter and fat together until very light and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add the corn and beat for 1 minute. Gradually beat in 3 tablespoon of masa mixture, then 3 tablespoons of water until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Continue beating in the masa and water, alternately, until the dough is very smooth and of spreading consistency, about 5 minutes. Place 1 husk on a flat surface and put about 3 tablespoons of dough in the center. Form it into a cylinder, leaving 1-inch on each end. Fold the sides of the husk to the center to overlap. At this point you can tie them or fold the pointed end over the center of the tamale. Repeat with remaining filling. Place it seam side down on a 4-inch square piece of foil. Fill the foil with 1 tablespoon of water and seal the foil closed, seam on top. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Yield 10 tamales