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Masa harina

Texas-Style Chili

Texas-style chili is a bean-free stew that’s usually made with chunks of slow-cooked beef. Here, eggplant stands in for meat in the traditional thick, spicy sauce. Serve with chopped green onions, cilantro, jalapeño, tomato, shredded cheese, sour cream, and corn chips.

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Masa Harina Cream Cheese Dough

This rustic dough has the delectable flavor of corn tortillas. If fresh or dried masa harina is not available, increase the flour to 1 1/4 cups—the dough will still be supple and delicious without the toasted corn flavor. To shape crusts that are perfectly uniform and round, use a small salad plate as a guide to trim your rolled dough. For a more rustic look, leave the rough edges.

Guatemalan Tamales with Romesco Sauce

Guatemalan Tamales with Romesco Sauce

This is an ideal recipe for tamale newbies, because the tamales are simple to wrap and the flavor combination is sublime. Most Latin markets carry frozen banana leaves, and you’ll need eight 10-inch squares of foil. Serve with Mexican crema.

Pupusas with Curtido

Pupusas with Curtido

This Salvadoran classic is made by filling masa dough with cheese or black beans. Keep leftover curtido in the fridge for up to two weeks.

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Red Pepper Tamales

“Tamales are a great way to get families together,” says Judy Harradine of Sacramento, Calif. “Assembling the tamales ends up being as much fun as eating them.” Recently retired after 45 years of nursing, Harradine now devotes more time to her favorite hobbies: cooking, knitting, and swimming.

Oven-Baked Sopes

Oven-Baked Sopes

Sopes are small, round, tartlette-like cakes made with masa harina, the flour used to prepare tortillas. 

Vegetarian Tamales

Vegetarian Tamales

The success of tamale making depends on assembling the right steamer. Select a container with a lid that is large enough to easily hold all tamales, and use a stainless steel steamer rack, steamer basket or a Chinese metal or bamboo steamer, making sure that the water does not touch the rack. Line the steamer basket with corn husks. Pour 1 inch of water into the container, and add three to five coins to the water—these rattle during steaming so you know enough water remains in the bottom of the pot. For the corn dough for tamales, buy from a tortilla-making shop if possible. Do not buy masa preparada for tamales because it contains fat. Instead, buy masa harina (masa flour) from a well-stocked supermarket to reconstitute with water into a dough.Tamales freeze well. Place cooled tamales in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Freeze for 30 minutes. Remove from the freezer, and fill plastic freezer bags with cold tamales. Put back into freezer. Do not thaw before resteaming, about 30 minutes. Or wrap cold tamales in heavy-duty foil packages, and freeze. Reheat in a 350F oven, still frozen, for about 40 minutes, but these are best if resteamed. The filling calls for epazote, a popular Mexican herb sold at Hispanic markets.