Beef Sinaloa Style Tamales

This article was originally published on October 8, 2015 and has been modified and updated for our new website.

I think everybody in the world has a family recipe that it is very special, a recipe that nobody else knows. 

This is the case of my tamale recipe. 

It belongs to my mum's family and it has been with us for generations. 

It made me feel very proud to belong to a family with so many Mexican traditions, especially food traditions. 

El Inglés, my husband, says that to see my aunties cooking in the kitchen is like watching a scene of the Matrix movie, one cooking the beans, while the other one is chopping vegetables and the other one is preparing the salsa. 

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So you can imagine how my childhood was, always eating very good food. 

It took me a while to decide to publish this recipe because as it doesn't belong to me, I was waiting for permission to share it with you. 

This recipe is only done in my family for very special occasions, like Christmas, New Year's Eve or birthdays. 

When we do tamales at my mum's house, we tend to do lots. 

When I say lots, I mean we make around 150 to 200 tamales. 

But here in London, I only made a few for me and my small family. 

It is quite a laborious recipe, so be prepared to be busy in the kitchen for a while. 

But once the tamales are done, you will love them and you will want to make them all the time. 

BEEF SINALOA STYLE TAMALES (Makes around 30 tamales)

Ingredients to cook the meat

  • 1.1 pounds skirt beef

  • 1 pound water (4.22 cups)

  • 2 or 3 pieces of bone marrow

  • 3 small tomatoes cut in half

  • 1 medium onion cut in half

  • 2 small cloves of garlic peeled

  • Salt to taste

Ingredients for the California chile sauce

  • 8 dried California chiles or New Mexico, deseeded and cooked in water for 5 minutes

  • Tomatoes, onion, garlic and some beef stock from when you cooked the meat

  • Some of the beef stock from the meat

Ingredients for the guisado (beef filling)

  • Shredded beef (the beef you cooked)
  • 1.6 ounces of beef stock
  • 2 big tomatoes chopped in thin semi slices.
  • 1 medium onion julienne
  • 1 green pepper julienne
  • Some California chile sauce
  • Salt to taste
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For the maseca dough

  • 10 cups maseca

  • 1 cup luke warm water

  • 1 cup beef stock

  • 1.5 cups California chile sauce

  • .5 lbs pork lard

  • Salt to taste

Extra ingredients

  • 1 large potato julienne
  • 1 large carrot julienne
  • 1 large courgette julienne
  • A small jar of olives pitted
  • A small jar of jalapeños
  • Corn husk leaves

Preparing the meat

1. In a casserole dish, add the piece of meat with the tomato, onion, garlic, bone marrow and salt to taste. 

2. Add water until the meat is covered. 

3. Cook for 20 minutes. While it's cooking, remember to remove the impurities (the frothy broth that forms on top). 

4. When the meat is cooked, remove it from the broth, leave the beef broth aside and shred the beef with your hands or with the help of a fork. 

5. When it is all thinly shredded, cut it into small pieces and set aside.

Source: Mexican Food Memories​​
Source: Mexican Food Memories​​

Cooking the Guisado (beef filling)

1. Use a big frying pan. 

Source: Mexican Food Memories

Source: Mexican Food Memories

2. Heat the oil and add the tomatoes, onions, and green pepper.

3. After seven minutes, add the shredded beef and cook for five more minutes.

4. Then add some of the California chile sauce to give it flavor. 

5. Add 3 tablespoons of the beef stock and a spoon of maseca flour.

6. Taste if it needs salt. Cook for 5 more minutes and set aside.

Source: Mexican Food Memories​​

Preparing the extra ingredients

  1. Chop the potato and cover with water so it doesn't darken.

  2. Chop the carrots and the zucchini the same way as the potatoes.

  3. Have all the ingredients ready and put them aside.

Preparing the dough

  1. To prepare the maseca dough you will need a big bowl.

  2. Melt the pork lard either in the microwave or on the stove.

  3. Have the ingredients ready to get them mixed in the big bowl.

  4. Mix the dough until all the liquid has been absorbed.

  5. Then start adding the pork lard and continue mixing. (Note: The dough will tell you if it needs more water. It has to be firm and not sticky.)

  6. Taste the dough for salt, if it needs salt add it at this stage.

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Assemble the tamales

  1. Take a large corn husk leaf and add some masa (dough).

  2. Spread it over the leaf. You can do it with the help of the back of a tablespoon or with your hands.

  3. Add some beef Guisado.

  4. Add one or two sticks of each vegetable, one olive and a jalapeño slice.

  5. Wrap the filling with the corn husk leaf and tie a knot at each end with the corn husk leaf strings you made earlier. Repeat the procedure for each tamale until you run out of dough.

Source: Mexican Food Memories​​

To cook the tamales

  1. You can get a special tamale casserole or you can improvise one like I did.

  2. Add 4.22 cups water with salt to the bottom of the pan.

  3. Put a little ramekin upside down and a plate on top of the ramekin.

  4. Lay some leftover corn husk leaves then lay the tamales like in the picture.

  5. Cover them with some more leftover leaves and close the pan very tightly. 

  6. Cook with high heat for 10 minutes then turn down the heat very low and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

  7. Before turning the heat off, make sure they are cooked.

  8. Take a tamale out (Note: Give it 2 minutes to cool down first) 

  9. Cut the strings, open it and if it comes out of the leaf easily, that means that it is cooked.

  10. If not, continue cooking for 30 more minutes and check again until it is cooked.

For more recipes by Karla visit her website.
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About the Author

Karla Zazueta

Author of Mexican Food Memories, a Mexican-food blog that focuses on recipes from her childhood. Karla learned how to cook traditional meals from her father growing up in Mexico.

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