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Tamales, a staple in the border states, leave room for a lot of creativity in the kitchen. In New Mexico, folks stuff blue corn tamales with green Hatch chiles, while Texans usually make tamales from yellow corn filled with pork and red chiles. Tamales are an excellent food to serve a large number of people at parties. Let your imagination guide you as you create fillings and experiment with corn husks—or even banana leaves!— as a wrap. Host a tamale-making gathering with friends or family—even children will enjoy the preparation. Making tamales can be a social event, where lively conversation and a multitude of hands turn a time-consuming task into a quick project with delicious results. Forming tamales:
- Soak corn husks in hot water until soft and pliable, about 20 minutes.
- Discard torn and smaller husks, laying out the larger ones to dry.
- Spoon 1 Tbsp. of the prepared masa dough and 1 Tbsp. filling of choice into the husk, making sure the narrow end of the husk is facing away from you.
- Fold one side of the husk over the filling, and then roll the husk completely around the masa.
- Fold up the narrow end, using a thin torn husk to tie it, or tie the husk with colored twine for a creative touch.