Try the dish before you judge the method!
Mexican food is one of the most popular ethnic foods in the United States, due greatly to the close proximity of Mexico. As there are with fans of any ethnic foods, there are definitely Mexican food purists. When I tell people that I make tamales in the microwave, I get reactions varying from "that's interesting" to "that's sacrilegious!" This is definitely an unorthodox approach to making tamales, but the times they are a' changin' and we have more tools to work with.
It is also worth noting that "traditional" tamales (according to Wikipedia, the Aztecs were making them around 5000-8000 BC) contained everything from frogs to gophers, and I don't hear any purists complaining about the lack of gopher in their tamales.
The real test is whether or not the finished result is plate-worthy. Try this recipe out and see for yourself. (You can always add the gopher if you insist on being a purist. )
- Microwave-safe bowl or dish, preferably Pyrex or ceramic (see the link below to the one I use).
- Good-quality plastic wrap
- 2 cups corn masa
- 1 1/4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 1/2 cups desired filling (e.g., cheese, jalapenos, chicken, pork, etc.)
- 1 bag corn husks
- Soften 6 corn husks in warm water for 10 minutes.
- Mix masa with chicken or vegetable stock and salt, mix until a smooth consistency is achieved.
- Put about 3 tbsp of masa in center of each corn husk, using extra husk if needed for more surface area.
- Flatten out masa leaving about an inch of space on all sides of husk to ensure all masa is covered when rolled.
- Place 1 tbsp filling in each husk.
- Fold one end of husk over to the other side in a rolling motion, fold ends inward.
- Roll like a burrito, making sure each end is tightly sealed.
- Stack tamales in microwave safe bowl, cover in plastic wrap.
- Place bowl in microwave and cook for 6-8 minutes, checking after first 6 minutes for appropriate firmness.
- Let tamales cool for 5 minutes before serving.
I have used quite a few different types of microwave-safe dishes for this recipe, but this one is my favorite by far.