How to Make Mexican Tamales with Mole, Part 2

Epicurious's Around the World in 80 Dishes takes you to Oaxaca, Mexico, with a demonstration of an authentic recipe for Turkey Tamales with Mole Negro, prepared by Chef Iliana de la Vega of The Culinary Institute of America.

Released on 5/28/2009

Credits

Starring: Iliana de la Vega and Tanya Steel

Transcript

00:05
(classical music)
00:11
Okay, this is ready,
00:13
and we're gonna start now with the banana leaves.
00:15
Okay.
00:17
Now, where do you buy banana leaves?
00:20
In many supermarkets, they have them frozen.
00:23
Oh.
00:24
So you can buy them frozen.
00:26
These are not even from Mexico,
00:27
come from somewhere else,
00:28
from Thailand, I guess?
00:29
All right?
00:30
So let me just now,
00:34
open and show you how you clean
00:37
the backs,
00:39
the leaves here.
00:40
Okay, this is how they come.
00:42
Oh my gosh. These are quite nice
00:43
this time. How beautiful.
00:44
Sometimes, they don't come as nice.
00:45
Really?
00:46
This is beautiful. Yeah.
00:47
So be sure that all the leaves
00:49
are kind of clean,
00:50
and sometimes they come kind of white.
00:52
Uh-Huh.
00:53
So if that is happening,
00:55
Just clean them. We'll wash and clean them
00:57
very well, and that's it.
00:59
The leaves should be pliable.
01:05
Wow.
01:06
If they break,
01:07
Yeah.
01:08
you need to work with them.
01:08
Either boil them,
01:09
that is one of the methods,
01:11
or you pass them on top of the flame
01:14
until they get soft.
01:15
So let's work with one, Okay.
01:17
and I will show you how it will work.
01:19
So we have to get rid of this tough bind,
01:25
so let's put these ends together.
01:28
So it's like you're folding a sheet?
01:29
Uh-Huh,
01:30
to make it easier to cut. Right.
01:32
There we go, then here.
01:33
Okay.
01:34
We will get rid of all that part.
01:40
All right.
01:42
Discard this.
01:45
Okay, this doesn't look too pretty, for example,
01:47
so we don't use that part,
01:49
which is discarded.
01:53
So you want kind of the most beautiful, perfect
01:56
leaves you can get.
01:57
That's a better thing, right.
02:00
The size you want,
02:01
you can make it very small or larger.
02:03
For example, I will have a little bit of trouble here
02:06
because this is kind of broken,
02:08
so if that happens, or you're spreading out the masa
02:10
and it's broken, what you do
02:12
you just cover with another piece.
02:15
And that won't affect cooking times,
02:16
Nothing, no. or anything, okay.
02:17
Okay, so this is what you do.
02:18
Okay.
02:19
Okay, so let's start, you know, making one tamale here.
02:24
There are different ways, of course, spreading this.
02:27
I like this better.
02:29
This is the one I was taught by my grandmother,
02:32
so you put the masa ...
02:34
Oops.
02:34
Okay, there you go.
02:37
There's first a slight problem, right?
02:38
Yeah.
02:39
But that's normal.
02:39
That is, you know ...
02:41
It will happen all the time. Yep.
02:42
You don't have to be worried for that.
02:44
You just take
02:45
Do you just put it over? a little bit of piece,
02:47
over there.
02:48
That's right,
02:50
or more,
02:51
anyone might.
02:52
Wow, it's so forgiving. Okay?
02:53
Oh, yes.
02:55
That's the beauty of Mexican cooking.
02:57
Yeah.
02:58
I like to say sometimes that it's fool proof.
03:00
(laughing)
03:01
Everybody can do it, believe me.
03:03
It's really true.
03:05
Your grandmother, this was her method?
03:07
Yes.
03:08
So this is a very thin layer,
03:10
as you can tell, of masa.
03:13
Spread it out, as much as you can get,
03:15
into the edges,
03:17
so everywhere.
03:19
It will be like a thin film,
03:21
I see.
03:22
of masa.
03:23
So we have the mole here,
03:25
and we just need a little bit.
03:28
So, as you can tell,
03:29
we're not talking about protein product here.
03:33
The meat is not relevant.
03:35
Once again, okay, you fold it,
03:39
and then, fold it again here.
03:44
So you fold it in half, Hmm-Mm.
03:45
and then you fold the edges over.
03:46
That's right.
03:48
And then, this one, fold in just once,
03:52
and then, fold it through. Oh, okay.
03:54
So you then fold a little bit Exactly.
03:55
of an edge, and then, Uh-huh.
03:56
fold it all the way over.
03:57
I see. The same thing here.
04:00
And here, we have our bundle.
04:01
Oh, interesting.
04:02
Isn't that cute?
04:03
That is.
04:04
Okay, and we have Now, do you tie it
04:05
a little bit here. with anything?
04:06
You can but you don't need to.
04:08
So this is what I will do here.
04:10
Okay, open it a little bit,
04:13
and put this piece
04:15
back into here.
04:17
So, yeah, it can be
04:17
a little bit like a puzzle Yeah.
04:19
when you open it up, right?
04:20
(laughter)
04:20
But it will be fine,
04:21
and, you know, that's the way we do it.
04:23
Right.
04:24
It's comfort food.
04:25
Yes.
04:26
You know, you enjoy not suffering
04:28
because nothing is, you know,
04:29
everything is perfect.
04:30
That's right.
04:31
All right?
04:32
So chef, is there a way to steam these?
04:35
Are you gonna show me?
04:36
Yes. Okay.
04:37
And I have some other ready, Okay.
04:38
so we won't waste the time Okay.
04:39
now that you learned this part,
04:40
and I have some other ready here to go,
04:43
so we have the bundles here.
04:44
Okay, we have a steamer here.
04:46
The water is boiling.
04:48
We need to add a little bit of salt into it,
04:50
and remember, it is important,
04:52
that the water won't touch the tamales
04:56
at any time. Oh.
04:57
So the water should be lower than that.
04:59
Okay?
05:00
Okay, so really, it's steaming.
05:01
It's not boiling, simmering, Exactly,
05:02
it's steaming. You're not boiling,
05:03
or any other thing.
05:04
Okay, so you start placing the tamales
05:06
at the bottom.
05:08
This will go this way, okay?
05:10
So with the seam is
05:11
On top. on top, okay.
05:12
Okay, and then you make like a cross,
05:15
you know, like overlapping a little bit,
05:17
but leaving area for the steam
05:19
to keep circulating. Oh, to get all of them.
05:21
Okay. Okay?
05:21
Normally, we make them in a huge
05:23
Tamalera. Oh, a huge--
05:24
We call them Tamaleras.
05:25
It's a huge steamer.
05:27
So you normally leave,
05:28
but you know, we have the edges here.
05:30
Now, we will have to seal this
05:33
to make it better.
05:34
First of all ...
05:37
Oops.
05:37
I have a wet towel here
05:40
to ensure even more,
05:44
you know, that they steam inside.
05:46
So you just cover this. Oh.
05:48
All right?
05:49
And then, to make it even better.
05:53
What about putting a cover on it?
05:56
Yeah, it will be, but it won't be enough.
05:57
Oh, wow. We don't want any steam
05:59
to come out from this. My gosh.
06:00
That's amazing.
06:01
All right?
06:03
Okay? And then-- And then this?
06:04
That's right. Wow, amazing, okay.
06:06
It will take like one hour and a half
06:08
to be ready,
06:09
one hour fifteen.
06:11
There is a test to make when the tamales are ready,
06:14
which is you have to take one out
06:18
and peel a little bit,
06:19
so if it peels fine, then it's ready,
06:21
if not you just keep going.
06:22
And what does peeling fine mean?
06:24
What is that?
06:25
It separates from the banana leaf, okay?
06:27
So, I think you've got some done, right?
06:29
That's right. Okay.
06:30
I have some tamales already made.
06:33
Yeah, one hour fifteen, one hour and a half,
06:37
and they will be ready.
06:38
So let me take one pretty out from here.
06:45
This is what you get, okay?
06:47
So tamale here, you unwrap it
06:49
again. Oh, wow.
06:51
And the tamale's ready.
06:54
So I see how you say it just separates from the--
06:56
From here.
06:57
Yep, like that.
06:58
Hmm-Mm.
07:00
Can I eat it right out of here?
07:01
Yes, of course.
07:02
Is that all right?
07:03
(laughs) Taste it.
07:04
Yes, of course.
07:05
Let's see.
07:09
So you have there, a little bit of meat,
07:11
Hmm-Mm.
07:12
and the dough.
07:14
This is a technique that it comes from,
07:16
even older than the tortilla.
07:19
Tamale, it's an older technique in Mexican cooking.
07:22
God, that is so delicious.
07:25
Well, chef, thank you so much
07:26
for showing me how to make these turkey tamales.
07:29
Thank you, Tanya.
07:29
Oh, beautiful.
07:30
Pleasure.