Part 3 of 3: Tamales
Here’s how I did it: Open the corn husk with the smooth side facing up,
and place the masa on the bottom 2/3rds of it with the back of a spoon, leaving a 2-inch space to the left of the husk. Try not to add too much masa (I added a bit too much in the photo below, and this masa ended up looking different because I had added more masa harina to it).
Spread the masa over the husk (don’t forget to leave space to the left of the husk, so it should be off-center) and then add the filling. You’ll only need 1-2 Tbsp of filling for a large husk and 1/2-1 Tbsp for a smaller one. Make sure you center the filling in the middle of the MASA filling, NOT the center of the corn husk.
Fold or roll the husk around the filling starting from the right side or the side with the filling. Ensuring that the flap of the husk is facing up, fold the skinny tip of the husk over the base of the tamal.
Tie the tip to the base with a slivered section of a random husk (I picked out the small, torn husks out of the big batch and reserved them for this purpose). Tying the tamales is not mandatory, but it helps keep everything together while they sit in the steamer, and they look prettier, too.
To add the rajas y queso filling, just do the same thing:
Once all the tamales are in the steamer, fill the bottom of the pot with about 2-4 cups of water. Place a few pennies at the bottom of the pot so that you know there is enough water down there (I found out that my pot makes its own noises when the water level is low; it was scary!). Once the water starts boiling, place the steamer pot in the main pot.
Cover the tamales with additional corn husks (this is when I use the husks that didn’t fully hydrate during the soak) or aluminum foil, and cover. Steam the tamales on medium heat for 1-2 hours (it took 2 hours for me).