How to Cook Tamales in the Microwave: A Step-by-Step Guide

Tamales are a popular Mexican dish, made with masa harina and filling, then wrapped in a corn husk and steamed. Traditionally, tamales are cooked on the stovetop, but they can also be cooked in the microwave. Below, we will discuss how to make tamales in the microwave, including a list of ingredients, assembly instructions, cooking times, and tips for success.

Gather the Necessary Ingredients

To make tamales in a microwave, you will need the following ingredients: masa harina, lard or vegetable shortening, warm water, canned diced tomatoes with chilies, boneless and skinless chicken thighs, tomato paste, chili powder, garlic and onion powder, finely chopped cilantro, salt, and corn husks.

It is important to make sure that all of the ingredients are fresh and of good quality. If you are using canned tomatoes, make sure to check the expiration date. Additionally, make sure to use a good quality masa harina, as this will affect the texture and flavor of the tamales. Finally, make sure to use fresh cilantro, as this will add a nice flavor to the tamales.

Assemble the Tamales

Once you have gathered all of the necessary ingredients, you can begin assembling your tamales. First, mix the masa harina with lard or vegetable shortening and warm water until it forms a thick dough. Then, add the diced tomatoes and chicken to the dough and mix until evenly distributed.

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Next, add the tomato paste, chili powder, garlic and onion powder, finely chopped cilantro, and salt to the dough. Mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated and the dough is smooth. Then, moisten the corn husks by either soaking them in hot water or running them under hot water in the sink. Once the corn husks are moistened, pull them apart and place approximately 3 tablespoons of the prepared masa mixture onto each husk.

Finally, begin rolling the tamales. To do this, fold one side of the husk over to cover the masa mixture in a log shape. Then, fold up the bottom of the husk and roll up the rest of the husk until you reach the top. Secure the top of the tamale with a strip of husk or a string.

Once the tamales are assembled, you can steam them for approximately 45 minutes. Make sure to check the tamales periodically to ensure they are not overcooked. Once the tamales are cooked, you can serve them with your favorite toppings such as salsa, cheese, and sour cream.

Preheat the Microwave

Before cooking your tamales in the microwave, you need to preheat the appliance. To preheat the microwave oven, set it to high for 4 minutes. This will ensure that your tamales cook through evenly and won’t turn out dry.

When preheating the microwave, make sure to keep an eye on it. If you leave it on for too long, it can cause the tamales to overcook and become dry. Additionally, you should always use a microwave-safe dish when cooking tamales in the microwave. This will help to ensure that the tamales cook evenly and don’t stick to the dish.

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Cook the Tamales in the Microwave

Once the microwave is preheated, place the tamales onto a microwave-safe plate and place in the microwave. Cook on high for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, remove the plate and check that your tamales are cooked through. If necessary, cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Serve and Enjoy!

Once your tamales are cooked through and evenly heated throughout, they are ready to serve! Serve with salsa, guacamole, lime wedges and additional cilantro for garnishing. Enjoy!

Tips for Perfectly Cooked Tamales

When preparing your tamales it is best to work with a wet masa mixture, as this will result in a softer and more moist tamale. For best results, always use hot water when making your masa mixture. Additionally, be sure to moisten your corn husks before using them to wrap your tamales. This will prevent them from drying out during cooking and make them easier to roll and fold.

Troubleshooting Common Microwave Cooking Issues

When cooking tamales in the microwave oven there are a few issues that may arise. If your tamales are coming out dry or not cooked through, you may need to increase the cooking time. Additionally, if your tamales are burning on the outside while still being uncooked on the inside you may need to reduce the cooking time as too much time in the microwave can result in overcooked exteriors.

Variations on Traditional Tamale Recipes

Tamales can be made with virtually any ingredients you can imagine! Some delicious variations include pork or chorizo instead of chicken, black bean and cheese, mushrooms and bell peppers, or sweet fruits like raisins or pineapple. To make one of these alternatives simply switch out the filling ingredients for whatever you desire.

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Conclusion

Making tamales in the microwave is an easy way to enjoy traditional Mexican cuisine without having to spend hours cooking on the stovetop. All that is needed is some basic ingredients, corn husks and a microwave oven. Follow these simple steps and you will have delicious tamales anytime you please!

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