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Old 02-21-2012, 06:34 AM   #1
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Tamales | Only 2 Net Carbs!!!!



Before I could share this recipe with YOU, I had to test it out on my Dad, after all he is where I get my Mexican heritage from. I called him earlier in the day to tell him I had a special dinner prepared for him. I knew, if my low carb tamales passed his taste test, then they are most definitely blog worthy. He polished off a plate of three tamales along with some Mexi "cauli" rice giving it two thumbs up! That my friends, means a lot to me as he grew up eating authentic Mexican food. Special shout out to my Dad who is following my directive and eating low-carb. He lost 10 lbs. in just four short weeks. I am proud of you DAD!

5 Easy Steps to Making Tamales
Follow these steps and your tamales will come together without a hitch.

Step 1. Masa or Corn "Dough"

Traditional masa or tamale dough is made from masa harina, which just means corn flour. Some Mexican markets sell fresh masa as well. We are using neither as both are higher in carbohydrates than I would prefer. While the tamale filling and sauce are simply healthy protein, fats and a little vegetable matter, the masa was needing "healthifying". In order to reduce the carbs, which, by the way, I was able to significantly, I had to devise a dough that tasted similar using something other than corn flour. Imagine my surprise while wandering Whole Foods, when I stumbled on Native Forest Organic Cut Baby Corn. Not only is the can BPA-free, the corn Non-GMO, the whole shebang is <8 g carbs! The recipe as written makes enough masa for one dozen tamales. Incidentally, each tamale is 2 g net carbs, woot, woot!



Low-Carb Masa

Ingredients
  • (2) 14 oz. Cans Native Forest Organic Cut Baby Corn
  • 1/2 c. Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Flour, Sifted
  • 1 oz. Non-Hydrogenated Lard, Melted
  • 1 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp. Cumin Powder
  • 1 tsp. Ancho Chile Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Celtic Sea Salt

Directions

1. Drain corn.
2. In food processor or Vitamix, process corn until no chunks appear.
3. Scrape corn mush into medium mixing bowl.
4. With a spoon, mix in sifted coconut flour as well as spices and then finally lard.
5. Refrigerate masa until ready for use.

Step 2. Meat Filling

While there are many different variations of tamale filling, my grandmother preferred shredded pork shoulder with ancho chile sauce. I regularly make pork shoulder roasts, as Carnitas are a staple meal around here. If you don't regularly cook shoulder roast, you've got a couple options for how to do so. My preferred method is in the pressure cooker. If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can use a Crock-Pot as well as the oven. However, be prepared, these two methods take several more hours. If the shoulder roast is cooked properly, you will be able to shred easily with a fork. This will make enough filling for one dozen tamales with plenty leftover to accompany your morning eggs or atop a bed of lettuce taco salad style, minus the chips.

Pork Shoulder Roast

Ingredients
  • 2-3 lb. Boneless Pork Shoulder Roast
  • 1 c. Water

Directions

Crock-Pot
Add water to Crock-Pot. Do not trim or cut roast, instead place whole roast in Crock-Pot, cover and cook on low 8 hours.

Oven Method
Add water to a casserole dish Do not trim or cut roast, instead place whole roast in dish, cover and cook at 275°F for 8 hours.

Pressure Cooker
Add trivet to bottom of pressure cooker along with water and then the steamer basket. Trim roast, cut into large chunks and place in steamer basket. Cover cooker, bring to high pressure then reduce temperature and cook for 50 minutes. Remove pressure cooker from heat source and release pressure.

Step 3. Soften Corn Husks

Corn husks are easy to find in the Mexican section of your local grocer. They will cost you about $5 for a bag large enough to make several batches of tamales. The corn husks are softened in hot water, making them pliable enough to wrap your tamale in. It is best to start soaking the corn husks while you are working on your ancho chile sauce. It's real simple, count out your corn husks plus a few extras and put in a large stock pot. Cover with hot water and place on burner at medium-high heat. We're not boiling the husks, just keeping the water hot and the husks softening. The husks will float to the top of the water, so weigh it down with a plate or a lid smaller than your pot. The husks should be soft and pliable in about 30 minutes or so.

Step 4. Sauce

Ancho chile sauce is what my grandmother used to flavor the shredded pork. It gives it a lovely red hue as well as heat. I enjoy a little heat in my Mexican dishes, but if I want my kids or husband to enjoy them, I have to keep it to a simmering. This sauce is quite mild as written, however if you want to turn it up a notch or so, just add more of the reserved seeds.

Ancho Chile Sauce

Ingredients
  • 3-4 Dried Ancho Chile Peppers
  • Water
  • 1 Organic Garlic Clove
  • 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Cloves
  • 1 tsp. Celtic Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/8 tsp. Ancho Chile Seeds

Directions

1. Remove stem and seeds from peppers by simply slicing across the top and down the middle.
2. Reserve some of the seeds to add back in for "heat".
3. Place peppers in small saucepan and cover with water.
4. Bring to boil and then remove from heat. Let sit 15 minutes.
5. Add softened peppers, spices and 1 cup of soaking water to blender and process until smooth.
6. Sprinkle in 1/8 tsp. of seeds, process and test for heat.
7. Pour sauce back into saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes.
8. Remove from heat and whisk in olive oil.9. Pour sauce over cooked and shredded pork. Mix thoroughly.

Step. 5 Assembly & Steaming

Let's do a quick recap before the final step of assembly and steaming. At this point, your masa should be in the refrigerator, the pork is cooked, shredded and swimming in sauce. The corn husks are softening in hot water and you are now starving! Let's assemble. First things first, remove corn husks from water one at a time and gently dry off with a towel. Spread with masa, fill with meat, fold and place in steamer or pressure cooker seam side down. You could also stand on end and tie each tamale closed with strands of corn husk. Steam for 45 minutes or pressure cooker for 15 minutes.

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Last edited by Vanessa120; 02-21-2012 at 06:36 AM..
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Old 02-21-2012, 06:59 AM   #2
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OMG, Vanessa, my jaw is down on the floor. OUTSTANDING pics! And what a creative recipe. I was wondering if the baby corn pureed for cornbread recipes would work in this application. VOILA! You did it! I'm going to print this out, but usually won't go to the trouble to do tamales. But I may just have to break that life-long kitchen tendancy and try these. WE LOVE tamales!
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:07 AM   #3
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Oh, I could kiss you right now! That looks fantastic.

Do you have the full nutri info on those? We are counting calories as well as carbs these days so would love that info! Thanks Vanessa!

And if it's not TOO much trouble - can you break out the masa info separately? I think I'd like to make a green chile/chicken filling too!

Last edited by Charski; 02-21-2012 at 08:38 AM..
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:13 AM   #4
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Thanks. I Love tamales!!!!!!
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:07 AM   #5
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OMGoodness ! Simply amazing Vanessa. I'm thrilled I love tamales. Thank You for sharing what looks like a great recipe. I can't wait to make these.
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:10 AM   #6
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All I can say is WOW!!
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:16 AM   #7
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Yum, I'm placing my order for a dozen righ now.
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:43 AM   #8
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So I have been a lurker since november and you got me out of the lurker closet just to say... I love you and so will my tamale addicted husband!
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:56 AM   #9
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Can I place my order here too,I'll just come for an extended visit....lol
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:38 AM   #10
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this looks amazing, and I agree, if you could split out the masa for a count? I'd like to experiment with this for cornbread... VERY CLEVER!!!
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:50 AM   #11
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right back at YOU all!

I don't normally calculate nutritional information for my recipes.....as I don't count or track anything personally. However, I'll make an exception this time . I'll even go out a few decimal places for those "A" types, like me! Here's what I came up with using ******:

Low-Carb Masa Whole Recipe/Per Tamale

Calories 548.1 / 45.675
Fat 35.3 g / 2.94 g
Carbs 55.3 g / 4.6 g
Fiber 35.2 g / 2.9 g
Protein 19.9 g / 1.65 g


Tamale w/2 oz. Pork Filling & Ancho Chile Sauce

Calories 196.18
Fat 12.9 g
Carbs 5.675 g
Fiber 3.31 g
Net Carbs 2.365 g
Protein 16 g
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Old 02-21-2012, 01:24 PM   #12
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WOWWA and thanks for doing that!

Boy that is NOT bad at all - the regular tamales we like are in the neighborhood of 350 cals each, IIRC.

Will try these soon and again thanks, Vanessa!
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Old 02-21-2012, 01:30 PM   #13
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These look AWESOME! Good thing I am going to the store tomorrow, I know what is going on my list!

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Old 02-21-2012, 01:35 PM   #14
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Wowzer Vanessa thanks for doing that . I haven't had a tamale in 20 + years.

It's raining right now but I will be getting this corn very soon.

Vanessa I'm making 3 flavors of candy using your frosting recipe. As soon as I'm done I'll make a thread. So many thanks for that one.
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Old 02-21-2012, 03:44 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charski View Post
Oh, I could kiss you right now! That looks fantastic.

Do you have the full nutri info on those? We are counting calories as well as carbs these days so would love that info! Thanks Vanessa!

And if it's not TOO much trouble - can you break out the masa info separately? I think I'd like to make a green chile/chicken filling too!
Charski, Can you possibly share that filling with us?

I have not touched tamales because I knew they were too high in everything for me, and too hard to figure out how to make them. But Vanessa, you have broken this down so even I could make these and so low in everything, thank you!
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Old 02-21-2012, 03:57 PM   #16
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Tilly, I don't have a recipe but what I have in mind to do is take some cooked chicken breasts and shred the meat (and I may laze out and start with a Costco rotisseried chicken) and then mix it with some green tomatillo salsa and/or some LaVictoria green enchilada sauce, taste, and season - probably garlic and onion powders, a little cumin if it needs it, maybe some minced fresh cilantro.

That will all be pretty low cal along with low in carbs so I think it will work!
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Old 02-21-2012, 04:23 PM   #17
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Is it possible to use something besides lard in the masa? Would coconut oil (unflavoured) work?
Amazing recipe!
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Old 02-21-2012, 04:25 PM   #18
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I've used non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening in my masa before (high carb days!) and it works fine, but man the lard gives it such a good flavor. Just sayin'.
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Old 02-21-2012, 06:30 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charski View Post
Tilly, I don't have a recipe but what I have in mind to do is take some cooked chicken breasts and shred the meat (and I may laze out and start with a Costco rotisseried chicken) and then mix it with some green tomatillo salsa and/or some LaVictoria green enchilada sauce, taste, and season - probably garlic and onion powders, a little cumin if it needs it, maybe some minced fresh cilantro.

That will all be pretty low cal along with low in carbs so I think it will work!
That's easy, thanks!
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Old 02-21-2012, 06:32 PM   #20
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I've used non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening in my masa before (high carb days!) and it works fine, but man the lard gives it such a good flavor. Just sayin'.
Is lard something I can purchase in the grocery store? Would the fat I have saved from cooking bacon work?


I just read about lard on that online encyclopedia that is so popular. That is interesting reading.
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Old 02-21-2012, 06:59 PM   #21
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Your blog Vanessa

Is a thing of beauty. I love your photography.
Your recipe instructions are clear and concise.

Well the tamales are drool worthy. I've thought about
making the masa with Mexican LC hominy. Is the brand of baby corn
critical to the recipe? How about the coconut flour?

This week pork shoulder is on sale as well as whole body
chickens. Thanks so much.
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:07 PM   #22
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Is lard something I can purchase in the grocery store? Would the fat I have saved from cooking bacon work?


I just read about lard on that online encyclopedia that is so popular. That is interesting reading.
You CAN, but you have to read the labels carefully - some have partially hydrogenated fats added.

I don't know about the bacon fat - it might be a bit soft? Perhaps Vanessa can let us both know what she thinks about it!
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:23 PM   #23
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Where is the place to purchase the non-hydrogenated lard?

The tamales look wonderful. Being a Texas girl, I do love Spanish food.
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Old 02-22-2012, 11:10 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbo View Post
Is a thing of beauty. I love your photography.
Your recipe instructions are clear and concise.

Well the tamales are drool worthy. I've thought about
making the masa with Mexican LC hominy. Is the brand of baby corn
critical to the recipe? How about the coconut flour?

This week pork shoulder is on sale as well as whole body
chickens. Thanks so much.
Why thank you!

The brands of coconut flour and baby corn are not crucial.....they are just MY preferred brands.
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Old 02-22-2012, 11:16 AM   #25
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LARD LARD LARD LARD LARD LARD LARD

I know of no other way to make tamales than to use LARD. It imparts flavor and texture. Could you use something other than lard, be my guest to experiment. Will they taste the same, probably not. Doesn't mean they won't be good. My Mexican grandmother used lard to cook everything and I mean everything. Then the food industry had to go and ruin it by hydrogenation. Steer clear of hydrogenated lard, it equals trans fats. Where do you find NON-hydrogenated lard? Do a Google search and see what you can come up with in your area. My local food co-op has fresh lard weekly.
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Old 02-22-2012, 11:59 AM   #26
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OMG!!! These look delicious. Your ancho chile sauce sounds lovely. I make pulled pork all the time and I am going to try it out.
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:32 PM   #27
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Ok Vanessa I have questions. I have the corn.

But I also got LC Mexican hominy. I'm a East coast Northern girl by birth. So what is hominy and can I use it in this recipe? Tried to ask DH what it was. Needless to say he just told me that southern people ate it. So please help. I've heard Barbo talk about it but I don't know what it is. TIA
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:36 PM   #28
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Essy, here is an explanation


Hominy refers to corn kernels without their germ and their hull, or bran. The germ and hull might be removed by soaking the corn in a special type of solution or by crushing the kernels and then sifting out the germ and hull. This food can be served whole or ground, and it can be served as a cereal or as a vegetable. It also can be pressed into patties and fried. This dish is especially popular in the southern United States.


I've made tortillas with a combo of ground hominy and baby corn. They turned out pretty well. Further testing showed that the hominy itself yielded a better-tasting end result and not as fragile as the combo of the two.

We love posole, which is a Mexican-flavored, brothy soup that has hominy and meat (I make either chicken or pork) and seasonings, then you add the goodies at the table. I fill a big bowl half full of the posole, then add shredded cabbage, sliced radishes, green onions, chopped fresh cilantro and minced Serrano peppers, diced avocado, then squeeze some lime juice overall - stir and eat. DH says it's like getting soup and salad all in one bowl!
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:46 PM   #29
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Quote:
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Ok Vanessa I have questions. I have the corn.

But I also got LC Mexican hominy. I'm a East coast Northern girl by birth. So what is hominy and can I use it in this recipe? Tried to ask DH what it was. Needless to say he just told me that southern people ate it. So please help. I've heard Barbo talk about it but I don't know what it is. TIA
The only reason I did not use hominy in this is because I do my best to use the highest quality of ingredients I can find. Hominy is dried maize kernels, 85-90% of maize planted in the US is GMO. That being said, if I was able to find organic hominy in a BPA free can, I would definitely try making tamales with it. I hope that doesn't come off as snotty or uppity, but it's important to me. At any rate, hominy is the same corn that is used to make masa harina or corn flour. I hope this helps.
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:21 PM   #30
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Thanks Charski and Vanessa. I'm still a little confused but you both helped.

I got organic corn . My garden is all organic. So with all my allergies I have to eat organic and grass fed meats.

I'm ready to make my tamales and I can't wait. This is thrilling.

Charski you are super, your explanation is great.
Wish me luck.

Last edited by rosethorns; 02-22-2012 at 01:23 PM..
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