Prison Tamales: The Recipe Tamalli | Tamales


Recipe and illustrations by Gilbert Bao  

Hometown – Tortilla Chips (16oz) Nacho cheese flavor  $2.15
Corn chips (12 oz) $1.60 
Spicy Refried Pinto Beans (12 oz) $1.60 
American Premium Beef Summer Sausage (4.5 oz) $2.00 
Chata – Chilorio Meat Beef/Pork (8 oz) pouch $4.70 
Hometown – Sliced Jalapeños/Peppers (12 oz) $1.30 
Velveeta Spread Cheese (8 oz) $3.20 

Hot Pot – West Bend clear hot pot $22.95
Large Plastic Bag
Small Plastic Bag
Immersion heater, 300 watts $6.40
Plastic Container,  28 qt or larger $9.90
Cereal Bowl, 6-7 inch diameter $1.50

1. Grind chips into a fine powder and add boiling water to make masa.
Roll masa into the size of a baseball on top of a square cut from a plastic bag.

2. Flatten masa with palm of hand to 1/8-inch thick.

3. Press upside-down cereal bowl over masa and remove excess masa.

4, Place handful of meat with beans in center and add cheese.

5. Fold tamale in half and apply small amount of pressure at seam.

6. Fold plastic bag diagonally to form a triangle.

7. Fold top and bottom excess plastic snug to tamale.

8. Fold remaining plastic onto tamale.

9. Place tamales in bag and tie tight so that no water will enter.

10. Submerge bag of tamales in plastic container with lid, and boil using immersion heaters for 3-4 hours.

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Gilbert Bao

About Gilbert Bao

Gilbert Bao is incarcerated at the Correctional Training Facility in Soledad, California, where he is a peer mentor and certified drug and alcohol counselor. He is working toward two associates degrees, in Social and Behavioral Science and Arts and Humanities.