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Cinco de Mayo: A celebration of
Mexican culture

Masa Seca Tamale Dough
Tamales by Mark Miller, Stephan Pyles and John Sedlar, Wiley Publishers, 2003
Adapted by StarChefs


  • 1 ¾ cups masa harina (corn flour)
  • 1 ¼ cups hot water
  • 10 Tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening (such as Crisco)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ cup cold chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth

Place the corn flour in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. On low speed, add the water in a slow, steady stream until the dough forms a ball. Continue mixing on medium speed for 5 minutes, then transfer to a clean bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Return the corn dough to the electric mixer and beat for 5 minutes on high speed. While beating, slowly add the cold shortening 2 Tablespoons at a time. Continue mixing for 5 more minutes, until the dough is smooth and light. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape off the sides of the bowl. Reduce to low and continue to beat.

While mixing, combine the salt, baking powder and chicken stock in a small mixing bowl. Slowly add the stock mix to the corn dough in a steady stream, and continue to mix until thoroughly combined. Increase the speed, and mix for five minutes longer. Remove and reserve until use in a tamale recipe.


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