Best Tamale Steamer: How to Choose?

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A tamale steamer is a large pot used to steam tamales. When choosing one, consider size, material, and components. Materials include galvanized metal, aluminum, and stainless steel. The steamer should include a rack or platform, a heavy lid, and a divider. Tamales are traditionally steamed and can be made with a variety of ingredients.

Also called a tamale cooker or tamalera, a steamer is a large pot that is used to steam tamales. There are several considerations to keep in mind when choosing the best tamale steamer, including the size of the pot, its material, and its components. Along with these considerations, consider your personal needs, such as the amount of tamales that will be cooked at one time and the amount of money you need to spend.

Tamale steamers come in many different sizes, from the smallest 12 quart pot (11.4 liters) to the large 32 quart pot (30.3 liters). The larger the pot, the more tamales can be cooked at once. Large families generally need a larger pot. Cooks who make tamales frequently may need two or more sizes on hand: one for personal use and another for large gatherings. Depending on the size of the tamales, a 12-quart (11.4-liter) steamer will hold approximately 36 tamales.

The materials used to make tamale steamers are also vast. Some of the materials used to make a steamer include galvanized metal, aluminum, and stainless steel. Galvanized iron tamale steamers are typically less expensive, but stainless steel or aluminum make a steamer easier to clean. Enamel steamers come in various colors, such as cobalt blue and turquoise.

After choosing the size and material, you need to consider the components or accessories that come with the pot. Along with the pot and lid, a steamer should include a rack or platform. The steaming rack is placed in the bottom of the pot to keep the tamales from touching the water. The lid of the steamer should be heavy and snug enough to prevent steam from being released during cooking. The tamales generally sit upright in the pot, but some tamale steamer sets also provide a divider to separate the tamales from one another and help them stand in the steamer.

There are many ways tamales can be cooked, including baked and broiled, but the traditional Latin way to cook tamales is by steaming them. Tamale is a world culinary cuisine prepared with a variety of ingredients. In Colombia, they are called bollo and in parts of South and Central America, they are simply called tamal. Tamales cooked in Mayan and Aztec cultures of yesteryear were pre-made and heated using various methods.

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