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Houston's Tex-Mex restaurant queen reveals her secrets: A behind the scenes foodie revelation

Houston's Tex-Mex restaurant queen reveals her most important secrets

Every year, families all over the Houston area will gather together to make tamales. But what do you do if your family hasn't adopted that tradition?

Buying them is one option: Either from a beloved local favorite like Alamo Tamale or a newcomer like Picos.

For those who want to roll their own but lack a patient grandmother to teach the proper technique, Sylvia Casares, owner of Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen, offers tamale making classes. In the video above, Casares details the essential steps in making proper masa, the cornmeal that's the basis of all good tamales.

 Her recipe uses lard, spices and other ingredients to obtain the proper texture and flavor.  

Of course, Casares learned everything from her family in South Texas. As she grew up, she earned more and more responsibility in the tamale making process. Her recipe uses lard, spices and other ingredients to obtain the proper texture and flavor.

For those inspired by the recipe but unsure whether to try it, go to one of the restaurant's three locations to sample the finished product. Tamales are available either as an entree covered in chili gravy, ala carte or by the dozen to go. 

Want to learn even more about cooking from Casares?

She offers a series of cooking classes throughout the year; for $55, attendees learn cooking techniques and get to eat what they make. Topics range from grilling fajitas to breakfast to tamales (naturally). The full schedule for 2015 is already available. 

Tamale making video Eric Sandler Sylvia Casares
One of Houston's best Tex-Mex restaurant is willing to share the secrets of great foodie treats. Photo by Joel Luks