'masa' on Serious Eats

How to Make Mexican Tamales

I shied away from making tamales at home for the longest time, believing it was an undertaking so labor-intensive that it was only worth doing with the help of many, many extra hands. Turns out I was wrong—tamales, while requiring a small amount of assembly time, really aren't all that hard or time-consuming to make at all. After a few rounds of recipe testing, this version with three options for fillings will give you plenty of light, tender, airy, and incredibly flavor tamales that you can eat for meals, snacks, and even freeze for later. More

Basic Mexican Tamale Dough

This master dough recipe for Mexican tamales starts with either fresh masa (the nixtamalized corn dough used to make tamales and tortillas) from a tortilleria or masa harina (nixtamailzed corn flour that's reconstituted with water or stock). Then lard, baking powder, and chicken stock are beaten into it to create a light, tender, and flavorful tamale that can be stuffed with your favorite filling, like green chili and pork, rajas and queso, or red chili with chicken. More

Mexican Masa-Ball Soup, or, How a Silly Pun Led to a Really Tasty Dish

A lot of people will tell you that punning is one of the lowest forms of humor. No matter—this soup, born of a silly pun, is tasty whether you like that kind of wordplay or not. Based on a classic matzo-ball soup recipe, this one uses masa harina for tamales in place of matzo meal for light and moist poached dumplings that have more than a little in common with tamales themselves. We serve them in chicken broth spiked with Mexican flavors, like jalapeño, lime juice, and cilantro. More

Masa Ball Soup (Mexican Corn Dumplings in Chicken Soup)

A lot of people will tell you that punning is one of the lowest forms of humor. No matter—this soup, born of a silly pun, is tasty whether you like that kind of wordplay or not. Based on a classic matzo-ball soup recipe, this one uses masa harina for tamales in place of matzo meal for light and moist poached dumplings that have more than a little in common with tamales themselves. We serve them in chicken broth spiked with Mexican flavors, like jalapeño, lime juice, and cilantro. More

Why You Should Turn Your Taco Night Into Puffy Taco Night

Puffy tacos, a San Antonio specialty, are made from fresh masa that puffs and crisps in hot oil. The result is crisp outside and soft within, and way more fun that your standard hard taco shell. They can be stuffed with your favorite variety of taco-night fillings—this recipe uses a flavorful ground beef mixture that's earthy, spicy, and slightly smoky. More

San Antonio-Style Puffy Tacos With Ground Beef Filling

Puffy tacos, a San Antonio specialty, are made from fresh masa that puffs and crisps in hot oil. The shells end up crisp outside and soft within, and full of robust corn flavor. They can be stuffed with your favorite variety of taco-night fillings—this recipe uses a flavorful ground beef mixture that's earthy, spicy, and slightly smoky. More

How to Make Gorditas With Masa

Once you eat a Mexican gordita, your life may never be the same again: Corn cakes made from masa dough are pan-fried to create a crisp exterior and a steamy, tender interior, then stuffed with any number of traditional fillings, from spicy beans, to fresh white cheese and tender shredded meats. More

Quick Masa Dough

Homemade masa dough might sound intimidating, but doesn't have to be: prepackaged masa harina, the coarse flour ground from hominy that's already been slaked with lime in the traditional manner, makes its preparation a snap. Enriched with lard and lightened with baking powder, the dough makes a flavor-packed base for a variety of dishes, including Mexican tacos, gorditas, and sopes, as well as Salvadoran pupusas. More

Dinner Tonight: Taquitos de Papa

Though I know the idea of a potato filling, like this one from Diana Kennedy's Oaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy, might seem too boring and starchy, it comes out absolutely delectable. The combination of waxy potatoes and the complex chili sauce comes together quickly and with little effort. It's so good that you could spoon this onto a store-bought tortilla and be done. I wouldn't complain. More

Dinner Tonight: Huaraches with Black Beans and Radish

Huaraches are flattened ovals of masa that get their name from the Mexican sandal. They are kind of like larger sopes without sides, and can be topped with just about anything. The first ones I encountered were straight-off-the-griddle from a cart in Parque El Llano in Oaxaca, Mexico. The tender huaraches were slightly blackened from the griddle, just like my favorite pizzas, and topped with a fiery salsa balanced by tender mushrooms and cream. I've been dreaming of them lately, so I really couldn't pass up this version of the dish from Rick Bayless's newest cookbook. More

Dinner Tonight: Tlacoyo Masa Pockets

Tlacoyos are Mexican cornmeal dough pockets similar to Salvadorian pupusas. (Doesn't every culture in the world have some kind of edible pocket stuffed with filling? Calzones? Pork buns?) Working with masa is quick, and so is the filling: a can of beans mashed up with sauteed onion and garlic, and Oaxaca cheese, which is basically a Mexican version of string cheese. More

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