Extra-Crunchy Fried Chicken

January 31, 2011

One year ago I said that I would try the spicy version of  the Extra-Crunchy Fried Chicken. This week I got a chance to cook 7 pounds of it; finally. However, after re-reading the full Extra-Spicy, Extra-Crunchy recipe; which called for 2 teaspoons chili powder, 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper and 4 tablespoons Tabasco sauce; I wimped out. I was afraid it would be too hot for my family (my kids can be finicky), so I only added about 1/2 the spices.  The result was not at all hot. In fact, it had much better flavor than the plain Extra-Crunchy Fried Chicken.

Better than last time; 5-stars.

It is important to remember that this is a shallow fry recipe, not a deep fry recipe. Add only 3/4-inch of oil to bottom of your Dutch oven. Last November I made this recipe as a deep fry, but the results were only 4-stars.

Today’s results were 5-star. I will never make Chris Kimball’s plain Extra-Crunchy Fried Chicken again; it needs the extra kick of more spices as shown below. Still, I promise to try his full cayenne/Tabasco recipe soon; I just couldn’t risk the 7-pounds of chicken.

Additional Comments:

  1. Chris Kimball warned me that the key to this recipe is having the oil at the proper temperature (as specified below at the various stages). Otherwise the interior and exterior will not cook at the same rate. This had been my downfall last November.
  2. Supposedly, a single batch can have up to 3-1/2 pounds of chicken. However, I have found that I should not exceed 2-1/2 pounds per batch based upon the potency of my stovetop.
  3. The recipe calls for 4 to 5 cups of vegetable shortening or peanut oil. But peanut oil would cost be $14/gallon, so I use my regular Wesson vegetable oil that frequently goes on sale for $4/gallon.
  4. Chicken has been on sale this week. I paid just $5.50 for my 7-pounds of chicken parts. What a deal!

Rating: 5-star.
Cost: $7 for 7-lbs of chicken.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Medium/High.
Start time 4:00 PM. Dinner time 6:00 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original Extra-Spicy, Extra-Crunchy Fried Chicken recipe is here.  My tame version and the descriptions of how I cooked it today are given below.

Ingredients:
2 cups plus 6 tablespoons buttermilk
2 tablespoons salt
3-1/2 pounds bone-in chicken parts.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
4 cups vegetable oil

  1. If substituting clabbered milk, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to milk and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Add 2 cups buttermilk and 2 tablespoons salt in large bowl. Stir until the salt has completely dissolved.
  3. Add chicken to the brine; stir to coat; and cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 1 hour. Don’t over-brine or your chicken will be too salty.
  4. In another medium/large bowl, add flour, baking powder, thyme, pepper, and garlic powder together. Whisk briefly, then add the final 6 tablespoons of buttermilk. Mix with your hands until fully incorporated and mixture is like coarse wet sand. (Do NOT try the whisk!)
  5. Working in two batches, add two or chicken pieces at a time to flour mixture and gently press flour mixture onto chicken to coat. Shake any excess flour from each piece. Place the chicken on a wire rack set over rimmed baking sheet. Coat only enough chicken for your first batch.
  6. Heat 3/4-inch deep vegetable oil (about 4 to 5 cups) into large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 375-degrees. Because it is only half the regular amount of oil, it will heat up surprisingly fast; so be careful.
  7. Working in two batches, place chicken skin-side down in oil. Fry covered for 4 minutes. Remove the lid and rearrange the chicken to ensure even cooking. Let the first side cook uncovered for 4 more minutes. You may need to adjust the heat if the oil is hotter or colder than 300-degrees.
  8. Flip chicken over and continue to fry uncovered about 8 minutes longer. You may need to adjust the heat if the oil is hotter or colder than 315-degrees.
  9. Remove when the chicken is deeply golden brown, and place on a paper-towel lined plate.
  10. Keep it warm in the pre-heated 200 degree oven while you repeat from step 5 with the second batch of chicken; coat, fry, flip and drain.
  11. Let drain for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 4.  Preparation time is 2 hours.

Korean Fried Chicken (Yang-nyum Tong Dak)

January 25, 2011

I first made this recipe last November, and made it again last night because I had a few guests coming over for dinner (plus I already had 7-pounds of chicken). This is one of my highest-rated, bone-in chicken recipe, and again everybody still gave the recipe 5-stars. Unfortunately, I didn’t heed my own warning about a lack of sauce, so I ran short again. Next time, I swear I’ll remember!

Big hit with kids and adults alike.

It has rich, Korean flavors, and while the recipe isn’t too much effort (never more than one task going on at a time), it does make a big mess. Be sure to wash the dishes as you go, otherwise face  a disaster in the kitchen after dinner.

Comments:

  1. Everybody wanted more sauce. My recipe below increases the sauce by 50% from Chris Kimball’s original recipe. In today’s case, I also increase the chicken so the sauce still ran short. If you are frying 3-1/2 pounds of chicken, then the recipe as given below will be perfect.
  2. Chris Kimball says to maintain an oil temperature of 350 while frying, but this is impossible.  The oil temperature went down to 305-degrees, but still I had no trouble reaching the desired temperature in the right amount if time.
  3. In the final step, the sauce should be poured over chicken, because it was thick enough not to stir well. The first time I made this I poured the sauce in the bowl before adding the chicken, which didn’t work nearly as well.

Rating: 5 stars.
Cost: $8.
How much work? Low/Medium.
How big of a mess?  High.
Start time 4:30 PM. Dinner time 5:30 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original Korean fried chicken recipe is here, and his original sauce recipe is here. The descriptions of how I cooked it today are given below.

Chicken Ingredients:
3 quarts vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups cornstarch
3-1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces
Salt and ground black pepper
1 cup water
2 scallions
Optional: a few sprigs of fresh cilantro

Sauce Ingredients:
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup water
4 to 5 medium garlic cloves, pressed (about 1-1/2 tablespoon)
1-1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoon Thai chili-garlic sauce (e.g. Sriracha)

  1. First, make sauce by simmering all ingredients together in a saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes. The sauce will become thicker and more syrupy as it cools.
  2. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Add 2-inches of vegetable oil to large Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat to 350-degrees.
  3. If using chicken breasts, cut them into two equals halves. If using both light and dark meat, divide your batches accordingly so that the dark meat can fry for a few extra minutes.
  4. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil then set wire racks inside; set aside.
  5. Dry the chicken with paper towels, then lightly season with salt and pepper.
  6. Add 1/2 cup of cornstarch into a wide, shallow dish (for example a Pyrex baking dish). Working with two or three pieces of chicken at a time, coat the chicken with cornstarch, then put in a large mesh strainer and shake over sink until just a thin coating of cornstarch remains. Set the chicken on one of the wire racks. (the other rack will be used later).
  7. In a large bowl, add 1 cup cornstarch, 1 cup of water, and 1 teaspoon salt. Whisk together until forms a smooth batter.
  8. When the oil is just under 350-degrees, add half of the chicken to the batter, turning to coat the chicken well. Use tongs to remove the chicken, one piece at a time, allowing the excess batter to drip off, then adding to the 350-degree oil.
  9. Fry the chicken, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, for 6 minutes. The chicken will not be fully cooked, but remove it and place on the second prepared wire rack. Let it rest while you fry the second batch.
  10. While the oil temperature returns to 350-degrees, batter the remaining chicken, and fry the second batch for 6 minutes (i.e. repeat steps 8 and 9).
  11. While the oil temperature returns to 350-degrees, remove the foil from the first baking sheet and line with several layers of paper towels (or use a clean third balking sheet).
  12. Return the first batch of chicken to the oil and fry for another 6 minutes, until the exterior is crispy and is deeply golden brown. An instant-read thermometer should registers at least 160 degrees for breasts, or 175 degrees for thigh or drumsticks.
  13. Remove the chicken and place on paper towel–lined baking sheet, then keep warm in the pre-heated 200 degree oven.
  14. Repeat with second fry with the second batch of chicken. Meanwhile slice the scallions thinly on a 45-degree bias.
  15. Let the second batch drain on the paper towels for 1 or 2 minutes, then put all the chicken into a large bowl.
  16. Drizzle evenly with sauce, and gently toss to coat. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter, then top with sliced scallions and cilantro.

Philly Cheese Steak

January 24, 2011

Last April I attempted to make a Philadelphia Cheese Steak following Chris Kimball’s recipe, but could only manage 3-1/2 stars. Today I had a 4-1/2 star cheese steak with mushrooms and peppers, from a Philadelphia restaurant. The chopped meat was certainly preferable over the thin slices of beef; it made for a softer  chew. The mushrooms and peppers in today’s cheese steak were fairly sparse, but did add nice flavor.

Cheese Steak with Mushrooms and Peppers

Having a pint


Pigs in a Blanket

January 17, 2011

I am new to the whole Boston-New York sports rivalry; but having just been obliterated by the Patriots 45-3 just one month ago, I was squarely behind the underdog Jets. The game was being hyped locally as the most important game for the Jets in 40 years; since Joe Namath’s famous guarantee. Indeed, the game was a thrill to watch, and, of course, pigs-in-a-blanket are perfect game watching fare.

Perfect Football Watching "Food".

Comments:

  1. I made both mini-hot dogs and regular ones. Obviously the mini-hot dogs need to be rolled much thinner than the regular hot dogs.

Rating: 3-1/2 stars.
Cost: $4.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Low.
Start time 2:30 PM. Game time 4:30 PM.

Not surprisingly, Chris Kimball doesn’t have a recipe for PIBs. Here are the descriptions of how I cooked them today:

1 Tablespoon (1 package) active dry yeast
1/3 cup (plus 1 teaspoon sugar)
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 cup warm water
1 egg
3 tablespoons shortening
1 teaspoon salt
3-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 packages of hot dogs

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees, then immediately turn it off. If you have a warm kitchen, the you can just proof the dough on your countertop.
  2. Heat the water/milk in pyrex measuring cup for 55 seconds in microwave, until liquid reaches 110 degrees. Add the yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar, stir and let stand for 5 minutes. Finally, add shortening (or butter) and mix in egg.
  3. Add flour, salt and remaining sugar to bowl of standing mixer. With standing mixer on lowest setting (equipped with a dough hook), slowly add liquid ingredients until roughly combined; about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high (setting 6 on a KitchenAide) and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stray large bowl with kitchen spray. Add dough and turn once to grease top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm but turned off oven until doubled, about 1 hour.
  5. Remove dough from oven and pre-heat the oven for at least 10 minutes to 350-degrees.
  6. Place hot dogs on cooking rack over a foil-lined baking sheet. Pre-bake plain hot dogs (without breading) for 10 minutes at 350-degrees. Let cool briefly and dry with paper towels. Discard foil and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Gently empty dough onto a floured surface. Divide the dough into 2 even halves (one per package). If only making one package of hot dogs today, tightly wrap one half of the dough in plastic wrap, then place in plastic shopping bag and place in refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  8. If you like your pigs in a blanket with cheese: cut a 1/4-inch deep lengthwise slit in each hot dog. Cut cheese slices into five strips; place one strip in the slit of each hot dog.
  9. On a floured counter divide dough into 5 or 6 even portions, rolling each into a a rough rectangle. Use a paring knife to cut into approximate size and wrap each hot dog a place seem-side down on prepared baking sheet; let rise for 30 minutes or refrigerator for up to one day before baking.
  10. Bake at 350-degrees for 17 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Makes enough dough for two packages of hot dogs.

The kids liked the mini-hot dogs better; more fun.


Steak Tips with Mushroom-Onion Gravy

January 13, 2011

Very few supermarkets in my neighborhood carry Hanger Steak, so finding it on sale for just $4 per pound truly is a special occasion. Hanger Steak has very beefy flavor, but can be chewy if not prepared properly.  I was looking for a recipe that would highlight it’s beefy flavor, but one that would also leave the meat tender. My search of the Cook’s Illustrated website yielded surprisingly few results, but I found one that seemed to fit the bill; Steak Tips with Mushroom-Onion Gravy.

Edible, but a big let down.

Unfortunately, the recipe turns out to be more stew than steak with gravy. Had I been expecting that outcome I would have been better prepared with some buttered egg noodles. I happened to have a little leftover rice in the refrigerator, otherwise I would have been eating plain stew without a carbohydrate. Overall, the beef was flavorful, but too beefy, not well-balanced, almost burned flavor (though the beef was medium-rare). A stew meat that is cooked for just 13 minutes does not have time to become tender. I would recommend either cooking as a steak, or cooking as a stew. I was unhappy with this hybrid approach. 3-1/2 stars.

Comments:

  1. The beefy flavor was too overpowering; next time I will replace chicken broth for the beef broth.
  2. Stew meat is tender because it is cooked low and slow. Cooking the beef only until it was medium-rare was not enough to prevent the beef from being tough. The fast cooking time here left the beef tough, and my boys would have preferred medium-well over medium-rare.

Rating: 3-1/2 stars.
Cost: $10.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Low.
Start time 4:30 PM. Dinner time 6:45 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I cooked it today are given below:
If you can only find cubes or strips, reduce the cooking time slightly to avoid overcooking any smaller or thinner pieces.

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1-1/2 pounds sirloin steak tips
1/4 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1-3/4 cups beef broth
Table salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 package of white mushrooms (Chris recommends a full pound)
2 small or 1 large onion
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves, minced
4 teaspoons flour
1 tablespoon parsley

  1. Trim any excess fat from beef and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks. Cut the onions in half and slice thin from pole to pole; should yield about 1-1/2 cups.
  2. Combine soy sauce and sugar into a medium bowl. Add beef cubes, tossing well, and let sit for 1 hour, tossing again after 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, rinse well porcini mushrooms well, then place in small microwave-safe bowl. Add 1/4 cup beef broth. Cover with plastic wrap, and use a paring knife to cut three steam vents. Cook in microwave for 30 seconds. Let mushrooms soften for 5 minutes. Using a fork, transfer mushrooms to cutting board using a fork and mince. Strain the liquid through fine-mesh strainer lined with paper towel into medium bowl with remaining broth. Set everything aside.
  4. Trim stems from white mushrooms and wipe the caps clean; slice into 1/4-inch slices.
  5. Sprinkle meat with 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half the meat and brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer meet to plate, and repeat with second batch. (Chris Kimball said to brown in a single batch, but the meat just steamed in its own juices).
  6. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet, then add white mushrooms, porcini mushrooms, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stirring frequently, cook until the mushrooms start to brown; about 8 minutes. Use spatula to loosen the fond on the bottom of the skillet. Add onion and another 1/4 teaspoon salt to the skillet (together with the mushrooms), and cook until onion begins to brown; about 8 minutes longer. Add garlic, thyme, and flour to the skillet; cook and stir until the vegetables are evenly coated with flour; 1 minute. Add remaining broth and porcini’s liquid, and scrape the bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen fond.
  7. Bring the skillet to a boil, then add meat and any accumulated juices to skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until internal temperature of the steak registers 140 degrees; about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, chop parsley. Flip beef over a few times, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.

Beer Can Chicken

January 10, 2011

I made Beer Can Chicken on a Charcoal Grill last September. Inexplicably, the Cook’s Illustrated recipe yielded 4 times the amount of spice rub necessary to make the one chicken. Not realizing that I was only supposed to use 3 tablespoons, I accidentally made the chicken inedibly hot. It was one of my lowest-rated recipes; receiving only 2-1/2 stars. But today I corrected the problems (I used the correct amount of spice rub) and it came out much better. 3-1/2 stars. The exterior of the chicken was perfectly seasoned (up around 4-to-4-1/2 stars), but still, the interior of the chicken was a little bland, and even needed salt.

Flavorful, but simple meal.

The appeal of this recipe is that it requires minimal effort; and I mean minimal. Just mix together the spice rub, loosen the skin of the chicken and apply the rub. Stand it vertically on a beer can and roast in the oven for about 1-1/2 hours. Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Issues:

  1. Chris Kimball’s recipe yields enough spice rub for 3 to 4 chickens. He recommends storing the extra, but I pared the recipe down for one chicken. I don’t have any extra cupboard space.
  2. The spices didn’t penetrate into the interior of the chicken, rather it was just a little more than skin deep. Next time I will work all of the spice rub under the skin, and let the spice rub sit on the chicken for 2 hours.
  3. While Chris Kimball recommends a 12-oz can on beer, I used a tall-boy beer because that’s what I had on hand. The chicken stood well out of it’s juices, but requires extra care when taking the temperature. Either a 12-oz or 16-oz can will work.
  4. I used my cheap baking sheet (good ones were still dirty from cookies). It warped, but fortunately not enough to tip the chicken over.

Rating: 3-1/2 stars.
Cost: $7.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Low.
Start time 4:30 PM. Dinner time 6:45 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I cooked it today are given below:

Spice Rub:
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoons ground celery seed
1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper

Chicken:
1 whole chicken (about 4 to 4-1/2 pounds)
1 can beer (12-ounce)
2 bay leaf
Large disposable aluminum baking pan (13 by 10-inch)

  1. Combine all the spice rub ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Pat the chicken dry and work the skin over the breast free. (next time will work the skin free from the entire chicken).
  3. Massage the spice rub all over the chicken directly onto the meat. Sprinkle at most one tablespoon of spice rub over the skin. Let the chicken sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. (will increase to 2 hours)
  4. With oven rack on lowest position, preheat to 350-degrees for 20 minutes.
  5. Open the beer and drink about 1/3 of the can (1/4 cup). With a churchkey open two more holes in the top of the beer can (there will be three holes total).
  6. Rip the bay leaves a few times and add into beer can. Slide the chicken over the can so that the drumsticks reach down to the bottom of the can and the chicken stands upright.
  7. Place the disposable aluminum pan over a baking sheet, then place the chicken (sitting ontop of the can) in oven with the breast-side facing outward.
  8. Bake at 350-degrees until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh shows 175 degrees. About 85 minutes.
  9. Using two wad of paper towels, keeping the can upright, transfer the chicken to a platter or tray; let chicken rest for 15 minutes on it’s beer can throne.
  10. Carefully lift the chicken off the beer can and place onto a platter or cutting board. Dump the remaining beer and discard or recycle the can.
  11. Carve the chicken and serve.

Vertical chicken standing in my (dirty) oven.


Twelfth Day of Christmas Tamales

January 6, 2011

I grew up in Southern California in a sleepy beach town halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego. And while my winters never included a single snow day, I did have something much better: Holiday Tamales. Sometime between Christmas and New Year’s my Mexican neighbors would always bring tamales. Unsolicited, but greatly appreciated, they would quickly disappear. But as my life  has taken me from place to place, I have lost this delicious holiday tradition. I have not had Holiday Tamales for more than 15 years. BTW, my Mexican friends here in the Northeast do not eat Tamales for the holidays, nor have they even heard of such a tradition (maybe it’s just a Californian tradition). In any case, today is the Twelfth Day of Christmas; Three Kings Day; January 6th; Epiphany, and I intend to break this long drought.

Holiday Pork Tamales

Tamales take at least 6 hours to make, but can be started the day before if you need time to make them after work. Soak the dried corn husks in warm water for 3 hours, so that they are soft and easy to work with. Meanwhile, slow-cook two pounds of boneless pork for 2-1/2 hours until tender. Then shred the pork using two forks, and season it liberally. Make the dough using corn masa flour (such as Maseca; not corn meal) and the pork broth (reserved after cooking the pork). Wrap the tamales and steam for 2 hours until the dough becomes firm. Be careful not to let your pot dry out.

Comments:

  1. For some reason my supermarket’s pork section was nearly empty. I only had three roasts to choose from, so I bought a 7-pound bone-in pork shoulder; a far cry from the 2-pound boneless shoulder roast I was looking for. By the time I de-boned,  cooked and shredded the roast, I was left with 4-pounds of meat. I used half for these tamales and saved the other half for tostadas for later in the week.
  2. The basic filling recipe I had followed included too much salt. I have corrected the problem in my recipe below.
  3. Traditionally masa for tamales is made with lard, but I substituted corn oil.
  4. “Masa Harina” literally translates to “Dough Flour”, but for 99% of Americans that means Maseca. It is made from corn and used to make tamales and corn tortillas.

Rating: 4-star. (see salt issue above)
Cost: $10 for 2-1/2 dozen.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Start time 11:00 AM. Dinner time 6:00 PM.

Tamales Filling Recipe:
2 pound boneless pork shoulder
1 onion, quartered
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
1 teaspoon salt
4 springs of thyme
Half package of dried corn husks

  1. 6 hours before dinner start soaking your corn husks. Take them out of the package and put them in a bowl of hot water to soften up. They will need to soak for 3 hours before you can really work with them.
  2. Cut pork into fist-sized chunks, fill a large pot with 8 cups of water, add the other ingredients listed above, and boil for 2 to 2-1/2 hours until tender. Remove the pork and allow to cool in large mixing bowl for 10 minutes, reserving the pork broth for later. Use two forks to shred the pork, after about 10 more minutes the pork will become cool enough to finish shredding with your fingers. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap to prevent the meat from drying out.
  3. Mixed the following ingredients together to form a paste:
    1/2 cup corn oil
    3 tablespoons chili powder
    2 tablespoons cumin
    2 tablespoons garlic powder
    1 tablespoons salt
    1-1/2 teaspoons black pepper.
    Then add to the shredded pork mixing until well incorporated.  Let marinade until ready to assemble the tamales.

Tamales Dough Recipe:
6 cups masa harina
2 tablespoons paprika
1-1/2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1-1/2 cups of corn oil (or vegetable shortening)
6 cups quarts of the pork broth (reserved from filling recipe)

  1. Add 6 cups masa flour into a large bowl and whisk together all the spices.
  2. Add 1-1/2 cups of corn oil (or vegetable shortening) and about 6 cups quarts of the pork broth you saved (1 cup at a time), mixing well after every cup of broth.  It should be the consistency of peanut butter.

Roll and Steam Tamales:

  1. Shake the excess water off the corn husks and let them air dry for a few minutes.
  2. Lay the husk flat and spread about 3-1/4 oz masa in a rectangle in the center of the husk. Put a line of the shredded pork in the middle of the masa.
  3. Roll or fold your tamale.  Here are some hints on rolling.
  4. Fill the bottom of the steamer with water, being careful not to let the water get the bottom of your tamales. I used a colander fitted inside my dutch oven.
  5. Cover your steamer and bring the water to a boil. When the water boils, turn the heat down and steam for about 2 hours.
  6. Check the water level every 30 minutes to make sure the pot doesn’t boil dry. When the masa is firm you know you’re done.

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