Delta Hot Tamales
Hot tamales—rich, spicy meat wrapped in a flavorful corn dough—are a bedrock favorite in the Mississippi delta. We set out to bring them into our home kitchen.
Why This Recipe Works
Unlike Mexican tamales, these Mississippi morsels are heavily spiced and stewed rather than steamed. Our winning spice mixture—a combination of chili powder, paprika, cumin, cayenne, sugar, salt, and pepper—goes into the cornmeal and butter dough (lightened with baking powder), as well as the ground beef filling. To keep the meat moist and tender when cooked, we add baking soda, as well as a portion of the cornmeal dough, which acts as a panade. After assembling the tamales with traditional corn husks, we stew them in water, seasoned with more of the spice rub. Finally, we thicken a portion of the flavorful stewing liquid to create a potent sauce for the finished tamales.