5 Reasons Why My Tamales Won’t Cook

my tamales won't cook
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my tamales won’t cook

In case you are a fan of Mesoamerican cuisine, we are certain that you would love tamale. This is made from dough or masa, which is steamed in banana leaf. In some cases, it’s steamed in a corn husk. Tamales are generally filled with chilies, meat, fruit, vegetables, and cheese according to the recipe and taste. However, it’s hard to cook tamales, and beginners even complain, “my tamales won’t cook.” So, if you are struggling with this issue, we are sharing the solutions with you!

Why My Tamales Won’t Cook?

Tamales are extremely popular in the culinary world for their starchy flavor with their chewy and thick texture. However, cooking tamales can be extremely complicated and challenging because the addition of corn husks makes them sensitive to temperature. That being said, if tamales are not cooking, you can follow the solutions mentioned in the section below;

1) Excessive Water

Whenever you are cooking tamales, it is highly likely that you have added too much water to the pot. This is because excessive water causes issues in steaming. Generally, people think that more water delivers better steaming, but this is an absolute myth. In some cases, extra water in the pot will also result in dry and crumbly tamales (no one like that, right?). That being said, you should only add water that’s enough for steaming. In particular, 1.5-inches above the tamales is just fine for steaming the tamales to perfection.

2) Hot Stock Before Cooking The Tamales

Before you start cooking the tamales, you have to cool down the stocks. In simpler words, you must use cold water for boiling and cooking tamales. This is because if you use warm water, the exterior side of tamales will be cooked, but the internal side will remain uncooked. In addition, adding tamales to cold stock or water can even break the tamales due to sudden temperature changes. For this purpose, you need to use cold water or stock for cooking tamales to ensure tamales are cooked consistently.

3) Improper Mixing

When it comes down to cooking tamale, stocks play an essential role because you need to mix the stock properly. For the most part, people use stocks made with animal meat for cooking tamales. When you boil tamales in stock, the fats will start to meltdown and glues the dough components together. However, tamales won’t cook if there is not enough stock. Also, your stock should have sufficient animal fat in it.

4) Lack Of Masa

Tamales are incomplete without masa, and this dough can make or break the tamales. Masa is responsible for absorbing fat and water. That being said, masa’s fatty texture is suitable for cooking tamales properly. Similarly, if the maca’s quantity is less, tamales won’t cook. That being said, ensure a sufficient amount of masa to ensure consistent cooking.

5) Steam

In the majority of cases, people don’t steam the tamales enough and start complaining about cooking. In particular, you need to boil the water and let it cool down to the medium point. Once the water is at medium level, you need to add tamales to the steamer and cover the pot. Then, keep the steamer’s temperature and medium setting and steam tamales for 30 to 120 minutes.

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