Chili Today! Hot Tamale!

Do you love good hot tamales?  I sure do!  My grandparents lived on a small farm about 15 miles from Many, LA.  Their address was Many but they really lived in the middle of nowhere! I was born there and if I have any say in my future, which I probably do not . . I’ll live there again some day. See . . living in the woods with no neighbors within miles and miles is my heritage.

Zwolle, LA is another small community about 10 miles from my grandparents’ place.  Zwolle has the best hot tamales.  They even have a Tamale Fiesta every year.  Through the years I’ve learned that various regions have their on idea about what’s a good tamale and since I grew up on Zwolle tamales, those are my idea of the perfect tamale. Nowhere except Zwolle can I get those tamales I love so for the past year I’ve been thinking I’d make my own.  I’ve been searching and reading recipes and trying to come up with a combination that might be close to Zwolle tamales.

This morning as soon as I finished baking the Eggs Florentine to send to Vince’s work (which was a big hit), and baking cookies because a friend was having a problem with her recipe and I offered to test it with my flour, I started making tamales.

DSC09243

There’s the chocolate chip cookies, a few cookies for me without chocolate, the bowl of meat and the bowl of masa mix.

DSC09245

Here we go!  The part I was dreading.  It wasn’t hard at all!  A bit time consuming but definitely not hard.

DSC09246

Starting to fill the basket.  They have to stand on their ends for steaming.

DSC09253

There we go . . 7 dozen tamales!

DSC09255

Put the basket in the pot and steam them for about an hour.

DSC09261

Once they were cooled, six of them went into bags for vacuum sealing and freezing.

But first . . there was lunch.  I steamed a few of them in my little electric steamer so we could have them early.  I could hardly wait to try them.  My guess was that the first time I made them was an experiment and the next time I make them they would be perfect but . . beginner’s luck I guess . . they were perfect this time.  I don’t think I could have gotten closer to Zwolle tamales if I’d used their secret recipe.

DSC09251

If I have to say so myself . . that is one pretty hot tamale!

DSC09252

Smothered in homemade chili, cheese, sour cream and sliced black olives — yummy lunch!  I think there will always be hot tamales in my freezer!

sig

Comments

  1. 1

    Marilyn says

    Judy, can you post a recipie? I used to buy homemade tamales (Mexican) from a lady that would come by work. They are to die for. We can buy tamales at Costco, Mexican markets…but the homemade ones were so good. One year, we went to a holiday party where we made tamales….so fresh, and so good. They are alot of work. We had them for dinner and everyone got to take a couple of dozen home. They just had the Tamale Festival in Indio last weekend. That is a great thing to go to as well. Most Hispanic families really only make them at Christmastime and they make hundreds.

    Tamales, yum, yum, yum!

    Marilyn(IQuiltToo)

  2. 3

    says

    Better then you giving us the receipe you can send each of us a dozen…LOL…I’m interested in the corn husk, do you presoak or just take and fill??

  3. 5

    says

    I love Zwolle tamales! You’re right, they are the absolute best. These things that pass as tamales out here are awful!

  4. 6

    says

    So Judy, Guess what WE are having to eat this weekend… Zwolle tamales and chili, because we live in that area. You are right… no one makes them like they do here. So now, please email me privately and let’s talk. I was raised in Zwolle and have lots of relatives in Many. I may KNOW you or your family from back then!! WOW! Small world!

    Kat

  5. 7

    Donna in KS says

    My husband makes tamales several times a year and everyone is happy to receive some! He had asked a woman of Mexican heritage for a recipe and one was not forthcoming, so he began hunting recipes on the internet, then began making and experimenting. He has a recipe all seem to be happy with now. Tamales are labor intensive, but he enjoys doing it!

  6. 8

    KatieQ says

    Excuse my ignorance, but I have never eaten a tamale. I have always been afraid to order one, because I didn’t know how to eat it. What happens to the corn husk? Do you eat it, or it it only a casing for the filling?
    KatieQ (who is now desparately in the mood for good Mexican food.

  7. 9

    Linda says

    OMG I can’t believe there’s another person in this world who make CC Cookies without the chips! I make them for the family with chips and a few for me without.

    I would love to make tamales – but I worry about getting the spice right. That’s a lot of work if they aren’t good.

    Linda in Calif.

  8. 10

    says

    YUM! We always have tamales for the-day-after-Christmas… and of coures, all through the year. Sonoma County, Calif – where I came from – had a HUUGGGE Immigrant population. Moms used to bring Tamales for our 4th Grade potlucks and eventually I learned to make them as well.
    My classes made tamales for our “Old California Day” (4th Gr California History) celebration each year, thanks to Angelina Hernandez’ great receipe.
    You are right, Judy… time consuming, but not hard. Kids love helping, and this is something they CAN help with because the mix doesn’t have to be really hot to go onto the Masa/Husk. Wonderful addition to the Holiday traditions, if you don’t already make them!

  9. 11

    Julie H. says

    I too, could live without chocolate in my chocolate chip cookies (as long as there was Dr. Pepper around).

    I’m embarrased to say how many tamales I’ve bought out of the back end of a vehicle. I’m sure your homemade ones are better.

  10. 12

    Bobbie says

    I am a “Gringo” when it comes to hot Mexican food, but the Mexican lady who makes my tamales knows that and makes them mild for me..Actually, I’m a “gringo” on any hot food although most of my family -The hotter the better. So I make a pretty good HOT salsa and they doctor their stuff up with that. Wade, youngest son, always asks if the made any “spagetti sauce” yet-he just trys to get to me over hot sauce. Hugs, Bobbie

  11. 13

    Mary Anne R says

    I’ve lived in Zwolle for the past 38 years. I’ve never made a tamale but know where to get the best ones!

    Mary Anne

  12. 14

    says

    I’m so hungry – why do you put all that yummy stuff on here? I want hot tamales and chocolate chip cookies. Can’t you just stick to sewing? do you even make your own cheese? Love you!!

  13. 15

    says

    I WAS BORNED IN ZWOLLE, LOUISIANA VERY CLOSE E.B’S ZWOLLE HOT TAMALES, MAYBE ABOUT 1/2 MILE. FROM IN THEIR LOCATION. THEY ARE BEST I HAVE EVER EATEN. HAVING LIVED IN LOS ANGELES FOR THE LAST 32 YEARS I HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO FIND ANY THAT COMES CLOSE. I ORDER SOMETIMES TWENTY DOZEN WHEN I VISIT SO THAT I CAN KEEP THEM FROZEN & ENJOY THEM ANYTIME I WANT.
    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THEM

  14. 16

    Seth says

    I grew up in Natchitoches and my parents/brother still live in the Robeline/Many area. I’ve really been craving some Zwolle Tamales lately and thought I would try to make some. Are you open to sharing your recipe? I’ve noticed that several commenters requested it. If so, could you please send it to me?

    As a side note, my mom is a big quilter. I’ll tell her to check out your blog.

  15. 17

    Johnette Pottier says

    Could you send me this recipe? We moved from New Mexico to Missouri & The local tamales just don’t taste right. It is driving my mom nuts.
    Thanx
    Josie

  16. 18

    P. Ebarb says

    I just wanted to ask if you were raised dressing your Zwolle tamales with all the chili, cheese, etc.??? They are best eaten naked (the tamale, not the eater!). That’s the way I was raised eating them except that very occasionally I put a little ketchup on my plate, but naked Zwolle tamales are the best. My Daddy’s family always had coffee around when they had hot tamales. I wish SOMEBODY in our family had learned to make them since the art died with our grandmother and 3 aunts (at least in our family)! Still the only kind of tamales I really care out!

    • 18.1

      says

      Nope, we ate them with nothing added. The ones I make aren’t as good as the ones we got in Zwolle but I’m still practicing.