Quick And Easy Ways To Reheat Your Homemade Tamales
Food has always been considered as a representation of one’s cultural identity. The people all over the world believed that each culture can be unified through the universal language of food. In the Mesoamerican society, tamale is a traditional dish made of masa or dough, which is steamed inside a corn husk or a banana leaf. It can be filled with fruits, vegetables, cheeses and spices. They are either flavored or plain that’s usually stuffed with beef and salsa by most. These tamales are evident during special events, parties and even holidays as well.
How To Reheat Tamales
The assembly process requires the corn husk to be soaked overnight, to allow easy access when being wrapped around the filling. Once it is properly seasoned, the dough mixture is spread onto the bottom half of the corn husk, and then a small amount of the filling is placed. At some point, a large number of productions might lead to an instance where we need to store these tamales and needed reheating.
Due to a complex process of preparing tamales, it is more efficient for you to prepare them in large batches to save time and resources as well. This article will provide you a range of traditional methods for extending the shelf life of your homemade tamales that have been successfully used for decades. Tamales are boiled in a steamer set and never directly placed next to heat or water in the process. Tamales are steamed until the masa dough is tender enough to eat and will pull away from the corn husk with ease.
Depending on the number of tamales you are cooking, a large pot with a steamer basket will do the trick. If you are looking to cook a lot of tamales, you can purchase a tamale steamer with a basket. You have two main concerns when reheating tamales: preserve the quality of the delicate masa and bring the filling to 165 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the substantial temperature when reheating. Here’s how:
Reheating Tamales by Steaming
Due to the fact that steaming is a standard way of preparing tamales, many people consider this method to ensure its long lasting freshness. You need to have two essential tools that can help you achieve a longer shelf life. First in line would be the steamer rack. It is a utensil that holds the pot with the help of its ledge or handles. You also need to prepare a meat thermometer that you can insert into meat-based foods to check their current temperature.
The steps below are prepared in a chronological order to ensure a precise implementation of the procedure.
Step 1: Defrosting the Tamales
- Defrost the microwave and set the timer to 60 seconds.
- Put a damp paper towel on top of the tamale.
- Flip the tamale and have it defrosted for the next 60 seconds.
- Keep the tamales in a clean plate to allow cooling. If desired temperature is achieved, enjoy!
Note: Make sure that there are no frozen spots before proceeding to the next step.
Step 2: Unwrapping the Tamales
- Remove the tamales from the plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
Note: Avoid reheating the tamales if it still contains a plastic/aluminum wrap as it can melt easily with heat. Make sure to properly dispose any used wrap or aluminum foil as well.
Step 3: Heating Process
- Prepare four (4) cups of hot water and pour it into a 4-quart pot.
- Maintain heat on the stovetop at a medium high level and put the lid onto the pot.
- Place the steamer rack onto the top of the pot.
- Allow at least a couple of minutes of the water to boil continuously.
Step 4: Preparing the Tamales
- After boiling, arrange the tamales in equal spaces to guarantee that every piece will be reheated properly.
- Reduce heat to medium level and allow simmering for the next fifteen minutes.
- Use the meat thermometer to keep it at 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- After reheating, use a pair of tongs to place it in a clean plate for cooling.
Note: For a batch of tamales that came straight from the refrigerator, it is much suggested to let the tamales heat for about 20 minutes to avoid missing frozen spots and properly executing reheating process.
Reheating Tamales with the use of a Microwave
Using a microwave will be beneficial especially when there’s no stovetop available at the moment. Always keep in mind that this method should only be done if the tamales are already defrosted from the fridge. You will need to prepare a set of a microwave-safe plates and a damp towel. It can get the job done rapidly and they would be just as good as if you had it in the steamer. At most cases, plates made of glass are safer to use in the microwave. Please make sure to avoid using foil, paper or foam plates to reheat any food in the microwave. There might be a writing at the back of the plate/plate that indicates if it’s safe to be used inside a microwave.
- Make sure to keep spaces in between to guarantee that it will be reheated evenly. Place a damp towel on top of the tamales to preserve the original flavor and its unique quality.
- To get the paper towel damp, use tap water from the cold water faucet. Please take note that you don’t have to totally wet the paper towel. This way, you can easily place it on top of the tamales for it to properly absorb moisten heating.
- Set the microwave to full power and set the timer for the next fifteen seconds. Flip the tamale to the other side and do the same process for the next fifteen seconds as well.
- Check temperature if it has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If not, repeat the steps accordingly.
Note: If some spots are found to be still frozen, try to cut the tamales into two or revolve their positions to focus on the frozen spots. The microwave tends to dry out the dough, so make sure that when you reheat the tamales on the stovetop using the steamer method, avoid overcooking so that they will taste nearly the same as they did when you cooked them the first time.
Reheating Tamales with the use of an Oven
Using an oven to reheat the tamales is a good suggestion if you want to cook something to add with your tamales. . By heating it in the oven, you can bring out all the rich flavors inside the tamales as well. You need to prepare an aluminum foil and an oven-safe platter in this process. Check this out:
- Prepare a piece of aluminum foil that is enough to cover each tamale at least twice. Wrap each individually and make sure to remove air inside before placing them in the oven-safe platter.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and allow for it to cook within the next twenty (20) minutes.
- If the temperature of the tamales reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit, you can now have it transferred to a clean plate. If not, repeat the steps accordingly.
Note: Take out the tamales and cautiously unwrap them so you can pull at the husk. If they can be easily peeled, then your tamale is ready. If not, put the tamales inside the oven again and wait for a few minutes. In addition to that, it is best advised to heat no more than two tamales in the microwave at once. This is to ensure that the tamales reheat thoroughly and evenly.
Reheating Tamales with the use of a Deep Fryer
Munching into a deep-fried food is something that anybody loved since their early days. It isn’t surprising to actually see people who prefer to eat the tamales when they are deep fried! In our attempt to eat well, we seem to forget that we gain something with this staple diet. Nevertheless, here’s how to rewarm the tamales using a deep fryer:
- Setup your deep fryer to medium heat level. Keep it at this rate to avoid overcooking the tamales.
- In case the tamales is still frozen, have it defrosted first for about 180 seconds (2 to 3 minutes approximately).
- Remove the husk and slowly drop into the deep fryer.
- Cook each tamale piece for about two to three minutes.
- Wait until the surface skin turns crispy brown. Set aside and place in a clean dry plate to allow cooling for a couple of minutes.
Keeping Your Tamales Fresh and Delicious
If you’re worried about getting dry tamales, there’s a tip that we can share with you to keep it fresh and crunchy! The process is as the same as steaming added a stew-pan and water.
- Warm up your oven to 400 degrees and fill your stew-pan with about half an inch of water.
- Grab your aluminum foil and crumple it into a ball like form.
- Flatten the mass so you can make a base that sticks out of the water itself.
- Cautiously place the tamales on the foil base.
- Normally in this process, you can only heat one or two pieces of tamales at max.
- Once the tamales are properly assembled, cover the stew-pan with more foil and carefully place it inside the oven.
- This method should take you approximately forty (40) minutes to an hour. Please do check that the tamales can be ‘peeled’ easily to know if they’re hot or not. This will serve as a basis if it needs more time inside the oven to be cooked.
Note: The aluminum foil structure doesn’t have to be a huge one. Just make sure that its size will properly hold the tamales and long enough to keep it dry.
If preferred, the corn husks can be kept when reheating the tamales. This way, the flavor to the filling will be locked in while being exposed to the damp heating process. Just take note that reusing the same husks should be properly disposed. The required cooking time for tamales differs on a case to case basis, as it comes down to how many tamales you are cooking at one time. A large steamer packed with more than a dozen tamales can take some time to cook, and you must be sure that the steamer doesn’t run out of water during the cooking time. To check if it’s already properly cooked, remove one tamale from the steamer and slowly unwrap a small portion to expose the filling. If the masa is still in a wet and paste like form that means it isn’t fully cooked. When cooked all the way through, the masa should have a firm texture that can be completely unwrapped without sticking.
While all the methods above are pretty quick and will get the tamales done right, make sure that you achieve the correct temperature to guarantee freshness. Whenever you reheat delicate food like the tamales, you should use a moderate reheating method. What is greatly advised is to have it prepared consequently to keep its original taste and form.
Careless reheating might result to a crumbled and disordered preparation of the tamales. As much as possible, we need to aim for freshness by means of rewarming. It’s best to use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature of the filling. In addition to that, allowing it to cool after reheating will merit an appetizing and pleasurable eating experience.
The convenience and enhanced quality of extending the shelf-life foods can be beneficial in terms of distribution and maximizing resources. The conservation techniques used can also be shared and used by different cultures. All around the world, food has always been associated with hospitality and expression of friendship. Therefore, our compassion towards food preservation is important in building and consolidating cross-cultural relationships.