Although the thought of drinking warm hot cocoa while near an open fire seems ordinary this Christmas season, have you ever thought about replacing that hot cocoa with tamales?!
Many families have thought about it and have made it into a Christmas Eve tradition of making them. Disneyland has even caught on with that tradition by selling their rendition of this famous Mexican meal.
Take a look at the video above to see how Chef Martha Sigala from Rancho Del Zocalo Restaurant in Frontierland at Disneyland makes them for Disneyland Resort guests wanting to take part in that tamale tradition.
Disneyland has also included the full recipe for us below if you want some tamales this Christmas as well!
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Makes 18 tamales
Red Chile Sauce:
1 (3-ounce) bag dried California chiles (about 12 to 14 chiles)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
Pinch ground bay leaves (see Cook’s Notes below)
4 large fresh pasilla peppers (may substitute poblano peppers)
2 medium russet potatoes
4 medium carrots
1/2 (1-pound) bag frozen sweet peas
1 pound queso fresco
3 1/2 cups masa harina (see Cook’s Notes below)
1/2 cup vegetable shortening at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
24 dried corn husks, soaked in boiling hot water for 2 hours or overnight.
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For red chili sauce:
- Place chiles in a medium bowl. Pour 3 cups of boiling water over, submerging chiles completely in water. Soak for 2 hours.
- Place soaked chiles into blender with the remaining ingredients. Add just enough water to cover chiles (no more than 2 cups). Purée until smooth.
- Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove skin and seeds, pressing on solids to push sauce through sieve. Set aside until ready to use.
For vegetable filling:
- Place peppers on a baking sheet lined with foil. Place under a pre-heated broiler, about 2 inches below the heat. Broil until skin blisters and is charred, turning to evenly char each pepper.
- Place peppers in a bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Steam in the bowl for about 5 minutes. Gently peel away skin. Cut off tops of peppers and discard stems and seeds. Cut peppers into strips about 3 inches long and 1/2-inch wide.
- Peel potatoes, and place into a bowl of cold water. Cut each potato into strips 3 inches long and 1/2-inch square. Return potato strips to water until ready to use.
- Peel carrots and cut into strips 3 inches long by 1/2-inch square.
- Place frozen peas in a sieve and run under hot water until they turn bright green.
- Crumble queso fresco and place in a small bowl. Set aside.
For tamale dough:
- Place masa harina and shortening in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Blend until shortening is evenly distributed through the masa.
- Add chicken broth, 1/2 cup at a time, until mixture resembles the consistency of mashed potatoes. You may not use all of the broth.
- Lay 1 cornhusk, concave side up, on a work surface. Place about 2 tablespoons tamale dough in an even layer across the wide end of the husk. The dough should be about 1/2 inch from the sides, 1 inch from the top and about 3 inches from the bottom.
- Place 2 strips pepper, 1 piece potato, 1 piece carrot, 1 teaspoon peas and 1 teaspoon cheese in the center of the dough. Bring sides up to meet, pinching dough to seal, and then roll tamale into a cylinder. Fold the bottom of the husk up and under. Set tamale seam side down on a baking sheet or large platter. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
- Add a few inches of water to a large stockpot, and place a steamer basket inside. Place tamales in steamer, stacking no more than 2 high. Place pot over high to bring water to a boil, then lower heat to medium-low. Steam tamales for about 90 minutes, or until the tamales start to separate from the cornhusks.
- Serve with Red Chili Sauce.
- Masa harina (literally “dough flour”) is flour made from dried masa, which is made with sun- or fire-dried corn kernels. Masa harina may be found in the ethnic-foods aisle of grocery stores, or in Latin food markets.
- Ground bay leaves may be found in the ethnic foods aisle of grocery stores, or in Latin food markets.