Seniors Make Tamales

By Angela Willeford
Au-Authm Action News

On December 2, seniors from Salt River and Lehi gathered at the Lehi Senior Center to make tamales, an all-time favorite during the holidays on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Community member Cecilia Antone (known around the Community as Tweety) demonstrated the tamale-making process and taught the seniors so they could learn how to make them on their own. It was a fun way for the seniors to learn and enjoy each other’s company.

Some of the seniors had made tamales in the past, but they had forgotten how to make them. Others had never made tamales before, like Community member Carol Pedro. She said she wanted to learn how to make tamales so she could make some for the New Year. She even missed a trip to the zoo with her granddaughter to attend this event. Afterward, she said she would definitely be making tamales again.

The ladies enjoyed the morning, talking and joking with one another. Delsie Burton and Pearl Schurz joked about their past tamale experiences. Schurz said, “I’m not making them this year.” Burton jokingly replied, “Oh, she’s just being lazy.”

Gale Biakeddy, Ramona Loring and Myra Schurz sat together and debated about how much masa should be placed on the cornhusk.

The morning was a success, according to Senior Coordinator Angie Dallas. “I wanted to do this because I remember when they [seniors] used to sit around and make tamales to raise money for items that they wanted,” Dallas said.
Gloria Ann Loma enjoyed making the tamales. She remembers making them with her grandma, Marie Andrews. She said she came because she forgot how to prepare the meat and the chili.

Tamale Recipe
Meat mixture
5lb beef brisket or chuck roast, if you are short on time use Baca’s red chili
2 canisters of Baca’s red chili can be found in the frozen food section of your grocery store or 2 bags of red chili pods which are found in your Mexican food aisle.

Masa mix
4 lbs. yellow corn masa
2 lb of lard melted
2 Tbs. baking powder
Water - follow what the recipe on the back of the bag calls for, you can use water or broth from the meat

2 bags corn husk/tamale wrappers


Step by Step process of making Tweety’s tamales

Before you get started, wash and soak the corn husks in water to soften them.

Step 1
First you cook the meat. Fill up the pot to cover the brisket or roast. Season with salt and let boil for one to two hours, you will know it is done when you pick up a piece of meat and rub it and it is tender. If you are short on time then using Baca’s red chili is best. Set aside.
If you are not using the Baca red chili, prepare the chili pods as follows. Remove the seeds out and boil the chili’s and place in blender and liquefy. Pour chili into the meat and then in another bowl add some flour and water and make a paste and add to chilli and meat mixture. Your red chili will be ready (set aside).

Step 2
Next you would get the masa and mix the five ingredients together with your hand until the texture is smooth and all the items are mixed well. Masa should be like wet cookie dough consistency with no lumps.

Step 3
Spread the masa on the shiny or non rigid side of the corn husk, spoon a heap of the chili on the masa and then roll tamales until masa is completely covered by corn husk.

Step 4
Place tamale in a tamale wrapper.

Step 5
Cooking the tamales; you would get a big pot and if you don’t have a steamer add aluminum foil to the bottom with some shreds of corn husk and place tamales inside cover with more corn husk and a wet cloth and cook for an hour to two hours. However make sure you check the tamales and see if their done if not keep them cooking till there done. You will be able to tell they are done when they are stiff and not mushy.
Tamales complete!

* This is one of several ways to make tamales.

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