I am going to definitively say that these are the best tamales I’ve ever had. And it isn’t just because I wrote the recipe. Every Sunday the Hispanic women in my church would bring bags and bags of tamales to buy, a quarter each. When we weren’t having pot roast, we were having tamales. They were amazing. The tamales in this recipe are even better. And, what is normally a two day process is easily cut down significantly using the Instant Pot pressure cooker.
I reference the “Instant Pot” tool a lot. What exactly is this magical device? It is an electric pressure cooker… and so much more. The Instant Pot is a seven-in-one multi-cooker that works as an electric pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, warmer, and sauté pan all in one. So far, I’ve used it for everything except the slow cooker which in reviews hasn’t performed that well. The newest models are bluetooth enabled and can control temperature enough to do basic sous vide (slow cooking in a temperature contolled water bath) and getting larger – all the way up to 8 quarts.
If I could recommend a cooking tool for any busy mom, I would buy an Instant Pot. It is honestly a tough call between my dedicated sous vide and the Instant Pot. But for basics – the Instant Pot is the best. The majority of my recipes will focus on it.
This recipe would be extremely good with all types of protein. Play around! Also remember, this makes an insane amount of tamales. Feel free to cut the quantity of meat in half, keeping everything else the same. The sauce is essential for balance and having enough braising liquid helps with the flavor and moisture levels in the masa. Masa can be very plan and very bland – and you need to make sure you have enough flavor enhancing liquid to really keep things tasting the way they should. I like my masa to be pink or ruddy brown from the pepper paste and seasonings.
Before you add anything to them, taste the tamales. They won’t be too spicy, they will be balance with only the slightest tingle in the back of your throat. My husband, who is a hot sauce king and puts it on everything, didn’t even use any. Give it a chance without anything… then spice it up and enjoy these. Share them with your family.