Cooking Louisiana  -  Hot Tamales
Hot Tamales are a big favorite of mine. This hot tamale recipe is a variation of our friend Ms. Barbara back in Houma and is a football party regular...just a little spicy. This hot tamale recipe with the size papers I use will yield about 60 - 80 tamales.

Hot TamalesFor 3 lbs. Ground meat or chuck.

Step one: Tamale Preparation

1 ½ tsp Cumin
2 Tbs. Powdered garlic
1 ½ tsp red pepper
1 tsp white pepper OR 1½ tsp. Black pepper (the white is hotter)
1 ½ Tbs. Salt
1 Tbs. Onion powder
¼ cup chili powder
1 Tbs. Sugar
½ cup corn meal
2 - 8 oz. cans Tomato Sauce
½ cup water (tip – in about 2 cups of water boil 3 bay leaves for about an hour (med – low heat)) save the remaining water, you’ll use it later. (This is optional)

You can test them by cooking a little of the mix and tasting it. Be careful with the pepper.

Tamale papers – I use a parchment paper, usually 4-5/8” X 5-5/8” – If you use corn husks they’ll be random sizes. I buy these at Rouse's in Houma, La. at almost every store.


Hot TamaleMix all dry ingredients together. Pour in liquids and mix. Add mixture to raw meat and mix well, very well!

Note: keep the finished mixture cool, never let it get room temperature; you don’t want it to spoil. Put it in the fridge if you have to.

Separate papers (so they’re easy to pick up) into a bowl of water. Like this:

Note: you’ll add papers as you need them….! They need to be in the water only a few seconds. (good-n-wet)

•Get your cooking pot ready – this must be a pot deep enough that you can put the tamales in and just cover with liquid. If you're doing a big batch use a casserole dish to hold them temporarily.

•Prepare your cornmeal dredging dish – A 2” – 3” deep casserole (or similar) that you will roll the tamales in. Fill ¼ with cornmeal and a pinch of salt and pepper.

•Prepare your tamale rolling plate – just get a dinner plate.

Hot TamalesPictured here from top center moving clockwise; cornmeal dredging dish, casserole for temporary setting, wrapping plate, tamale mixture, tamale papers.

Here we go: place a paper on the plate, grab a small handful of meat mix and form it into what appears to be a tamale (size them like you want), roll it in the cornmeal, place it on the paper, wrap it as shown below and put it in the pot.

Hot TamalesWrapping:

One end will be open (that’s what you want…juices go in when cooking)Hot Tamales Place the tamale on the paper near one end and fold the long end of the paper up towards the short end.

Fold (what is the bottom end here) over to begin the roll. (picture to the right) and continue to roll.

You'll notice the end to the right of the picture is open.

Hot TamalesNext: lay the tamales down in the pot (don’t stand them up). Hot Tamales Lay them in rows and then cross them as you stack them as shown here. Layering like this makes them easier to take them out of the pot once they're done.

Step 2: Make your cooking sauce!

2 - regular cans Tom. Sauce
3 Tbs. Chili Powder
1 ½ Tbs. Onion powder
1 Tbs. Garlic Powder
1 Tsp. cayenne
½ tsp. salt
1 Tbs. Sugar
2 cups bay water or regular water…
Plus about 2 cups additional water

Mix all well and pour over tamales. Add water to cover tamales 1/2". Cook for 1-1/2 hours covered. (Start on medium heat to get boiling then lower heat to a slow boil and cover.)

Let sit for a while before eating…

Recipe notes:
1. The sugar neutralizes the acid (heartburn) in the tomato sauce, (DON’T LEAVE IT OUT), it’s not used to make the tamales “sweet”.
2. Double or triple the recipe – no problem
3. Be careful with the pepper.
4. Feel free to add chopped fresh spices (onions, garlic whatever!) Hey, it’s your company that has to eat it! Seriously, you can put the fresh stuff in but keep in mind that the cooking time is short and flavors don’t have long to come out, unless however, you let the batch sit on the stove (or fridge) for hours (which ain’t a bad idea to begin with!).
5. Consider cooking them the day before the gang comes over and leave them in the fridge. Reheat as needed.
6. Freezes well, put in Ziplocs with liquid.

This is how I like it, however, do yo’ thing!

You can find recipe conversion websites that will convert for however many pounds of meat you may want to use. Just watch the pepper.