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Zucchini and Squash Blossom Tamales

Gourmet's Adventures with Ruth: Season One: Cocinar Mexicano, Tepoztlán, Mexico

Makes30 tamales
  • Active time:35 MIN (USING A STAND MIXER)
  • Start to finish:1ž HR
Cocinar, Mexicano, Tepoztlán, Mexico
October 2009
Watch a preview of this Gourmet's Adventures with Ruth episode and view its accompanying recipes. Plus, explore all episodes and more recipes from the show.
  • 30 dried corn husks, preferably with rounded base (see cooks note)
  • 8 oz (1 cup) pork lard (see cooks' note)
  • 3 cups tamale flour, such as Maseca
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2/3 cup corn oil
  • 3/4 lb squash blossoms (in bunches on the stem as sold in Mexico 25 to 30 blossoms), or substitute 1 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 3/4 lb zucchini, rinsed well and cut into 1/2-inch dice (3 cups)
Soak corn husks in cold water at least 30 minutes.
  • Beat pork lard in a standing mixer with whip attachment until very fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile knead together tamale flour, salt, and water in a large bowl until it forms a dough.
  • Add half of dough to pork lard and mix to combine. Add oil and remaining dough to bowl and beat on medium-high speed until it has the texture of a fluffy frosting and a tablespoonful floats in a glass of water, 10 to 15 minutes. (If you are using a hand held mixer double the beating times.) Season with salt to taste (mixture should taste slightly salty as salt will leach out during steaming).
  • If using zucchini flowers, break or cut off stems and side barbs around base of flower and coarsely chop blossoms.
  • Mix zucchini into tamale batter with your hands or a spatula, then gently stir in zucchini flowers (if using corn, add along with zucchini).
  • Drain corn husks.
  • Fill a corn husk with a heaping serving spoon of batter (about 1/3 cup) and enclose in husk, doubling pointed end over bottom half. (To make the slightly fancier shape, twist the pointed end and press down into bottom half). Repeat with remaining husks and fit, standing up with rounded ends up, into the deep steamer basket of a pasta pot. Put about 1 inch water into pot and a coin so you can tell if water evaporates (the giggling noise from the coin will stop). Bring water to a boil, then insert steamer basket and cover with additional corn husks, a plastic shopping bag, then a damp cloth and the lid.
  • Steam tamales, adding more boiling water if necessary, until the tamale comes away from the husk when opened, 45 to 50 minutes.
Cooks' Note: If you can't find corn husks with rounded bottoms, fill the middle of the husk with batter, then enclose on sides and fold over both top and bottom. It will not matter which end is up in steamer.
You can substitute 1 cup of additional corn oil for the pork lard for vegetarian tamales. In this case all the whipping will be done once all the dough and oil is added to the bowl. Increase whipping time as necessary to have a very fluffy batter.
Tamales keep, chilled in a plastic bag, 3 days or frozen up to 3 months. To reheat tamales, defrost over night in the refrigerator (if frozen), then put in a deep plate with a little water on bottom and microwave 1 minute per 1 or 2 tamales.