Join KENS 5 and host Erik Kennon as we bring you some of the best recipes from local grandmas with our weeklong food special, "Cookin' with Grandma."


Grandma Magdalena is my hero! She has a superpower that many of us may be jealous of: she knows how to make legitimately life-changing tamales.

Once you've had Magdalena's soft, moist tamales there is really no going back! As all of us who have tried to make tamales know, the process can be laborious and time-consuming.

In this episode, Grandma Magdalena will teach us a bit of her philosophy on patience and passion for making tamales.

Grandma Magdalena's Tamales Rojos


  • 2 packages of corn leaves; need to be soaked and then drained so they can soften
  • Water at your discretion
  • 4 lbs of masa or one pack of flour for tamales
  • 1 ½ lbs of lard
  • 1 ¼ of Royal brand baking powder
  • Salt
  • 2 chiles Anchos
  • 2 chiles Guajillo
  • Chicken or pork, whichever you prefer!
  • Garlic
  • Onion


Procedure for Ancho Chile Masa

  1. Let chicken or pork cook for about an hour until its fully cooked at medium heat.
  2. Let meat cool and then crumble. The crumble will be used later on into the tamales.
  3. Soak Ancho chiles in hot water. Remove all seeds!
  4. Mix chiles in a blender with the broth from the meat. This will give color to your masa.

Salsa Roja récipe

  1. Place the Guajillo chiles in a small pot with hot water, onion, garlic and a pinch of salt. Let it boil for 5 minutes at medium heat.
  2. Once it is cooled, mix it in the blender until desired consistency.

Now that you have your Ancho chile masa, broth, and salsa roja ready, we can start mixing the tamales masa.

  1. Mix masa with lard, baking powder, broth, and the Ancho chile masa in a casserole with your hand or mixer for about 20 minutes until it begins to sponge up. Keep mixing it until it cools down.
  2. Carefully open the corn leaves and insert a spoonful of the masa into the leaf.
  3. Insert the meat crumble into the leaf. If you want the tamale spicy, you can add the salsa roja to your liking!
  4. Close up the tamale and put it in a large pot. Once you have all your tamales inside the large casserole put the lid on top and let them heat for 45 minutes.
  5. You might want to take one out and check it is fully cooked. If it is not fully ready maybe let it set another 10 minutes. You be the judge!

Are you interested in appearing on a future edition of "Cookin' with Grandma?" Email us with your name, address, contact phone number and a description of your special dish!