Maybe it's the endless possibilities of fillings or maybe it's the lard - for whatever reason, I've been on a tamales kick lately.
Pictured below are the Chinese 5 Spice braised chicken tamales Karen and I made for Mothers Day. I'm very jealous of Karen's mom for having an 18" diameter dual rack steamer - actually I'm jealous she has the kitchen space to store one.
Basic Tamales Recipe
(I excluded the filling, use whatever filling you'd like. Leftover braised meat works very well.)
1 1/3 cups lard or solid vegetable shortening
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
4 cups freshly ground masa dough for tamales, or make masa dough with 3 1/2 cups harina mixed with 2 1/4 cups warm water
2 cups chicken broth (homemade if possible!)
Thoroughly mix lard, salt and baking powder in large bowl until fluffy (an electric mixer comes in handy for this). Beat in fresh masa or masa harina mixture in batches. Gradually beat in 1 1/2 cups broth. If dough seems firm, beat in broth a couple tablespoons at a time, to soften.
Spread 2 - 3 tablespoons of dough on soaked corn husks and spoon your choice of filling. Roll up the husk and tie off the ends with strips of corn husks.
Steam for ~1 hour or until dough no longer sticks to husk.
He who eats alone, chokes alone.