How to Steam Tamales without Steamer

How to Steam Tamales without Steamer?


Who doesn’t like to travel and explore new places? But the most interesting part of traveling is experiencing new cultures and trying out their dishes. Today, we are going to talk about Mexico’s traditional dish “Tamale”. Tamale is a nutrients packed dish that is made from dough or masa. Tamale can either be cooked or steamed in corn husk or Banana Leaf. This gives the dish its rich taste and also allow you to use the wrapping as a plate.

What makes Tamale Special?

The richness, texture, and benefits of the dish sets a part from other traditional offerings. Tamale is very delicious and packs many beneficial nutrients and minerals. But it is very important for the dish to be cooked properly.

Undercooked Tamale will end up to be gummy and can also lead to foodborne diseases due to being undercooked. While overcooked Tamale wont taste as delicious, it can be very crispy and hard to chew.

However, when cooked right, Tamale have a great balance between crispy and soft as it is crumble when cooked and dissolves in your mouth to give you an amazing delicious taste.

How is Tamale made?

Now as we know how a tamale taste, we will talk about how it is made. Tamale is made from dough or masa. It can wither be cooked or steamed.

The most common way of cooking Tamale is to steam it as it is the best way to extract the softness and moisture. It generally takes around 30 minutes to an hour of steaming to get the tamale fully cooked. However, frozen tamale just needs to be steamed for around 15 to 30 minutes.

Make sure that your tamale is not in contact with the water while steaming as it will make it soggy and wet which will ruin the taste of tamale. Now if you don’t have a steamer and want to steam tamale, you have come to the right place.

So let’s not waste any time and get to know how you can steam tamale without a steamer.

How to Steam Tamales without a Steamer

Below we are going to discuss about some of the ways from which you can cook tamale by steaming it without the need of a steamer.

1. Metal Strainer

The first way is to use a metal strainer. This is one of the easiest way to steam your tamale without a steamer. Metal strainer are a common kitchen accessory and you can easily find it lying in the kitchen.

Simply place the tamales in the metal strainer vertically and boil water in a pan. Take the boil water and suspend strainer over it. Cover the metal strainer with the lid of your pot and let it get steamed.

The heat of the boiling water will go through the metal strainer and will steam the tamale. As there are holes in the metal strainer, it will take longer than usual to cook. However, it is an effective way of steaming your tamale.

2. Bowl and Chopstick

Again, this is a simple hack that you can adapt to effectively steam tamale. Boil water in a pot or a pan and then place 3-4 chopsticks over it. Then firmly place a bowl upside down. On top of your chopsticks, stack tamales over it and let the tamale get steamed.

3. Steam in an Oven

To steam tamale in an oven you would require a traditional Dutch oven or an casserole dish with a lid. Make sure that the setting of your oven is set to its lowest temperature. Lower Temperature ensures that the water present in your steam pot dries out evenly and steams your tamale properly.

Make sure to amend your recipe accordingly to the steaming process. In the end, generally place your steam rack inside the Dutch oven. If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can easily steam it in casserole dish with a lid.

While steaming make sure that the tamales are stacked on the top of your stack rack. The folded end of your tamale should be facing down. Simply take a cup of boiling water and pour the water in your oven or dish. Place the lid and put it in the oven.

Steam it for around 40 to 50 minutes without raising the temperature of the oven. The heat of the oven will turn the water into steam and keep your tamales warm. Remove the tamales from the oven and carefully lift the steam to escape.

Arranging the Tamale

It’s up to your personal preference on how you want to arrange your tamales. There are two possible ways of arranging your tamales. You can either place them horizontally or vertically. If you wish to arrange them horizontally, you can pile them up on top of each other.

While if you wish to place them vertically. Place them vertically in a bowl, while making sure that the folded end is at the bottom. Opening face of the corn husk or banana peel should be faced upwards so that the filling doesn’t escape.

Arranging plays a vital role in the making as the middle ones will take longer to cook as compared to the tamales placed on the sides. Therefore, make sure to check the side placed tamales to eliminate overcooking.

Final Thoughts

Tamales are very delicious and tasty. They are a traditional dish of Mexico. They are made from dough or masa and then covered with corn husk or banana peel. The outer layering of tamale can be used as a plate while eating. They are either cooked or steam.

While steaming is generally used to capture the softness and moisture of the tamale which makes it exceptionally unique and delicious. It is not necessary to have a steamer to steam tamales. And we have listed some of the ways from which you can steam tamales without the need of a steamer.

You can use the oven, pot, bowl and chopsticks to steam tamales. However, it is important that the tamales does not make contact with water as it will make it soggy and wet. Moreover, arranging tamales also plays a vital role in the cooking process of tamales.

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