Basic Masa for Tamales Yields enough masa to make about 12 medium-sized tamales. Unlike conventional masa, this doesn't use lard or shortening -- yogurt takes its place.

Prep Time: 1 1/2 - 2 hours
Cooking Time: 90 minutes

1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
2/3 cup white grits, ground as finely as possible, or white cornmeal
1 cup masa harina
1/3 cup whole milk yogurt cheese*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt

1. Bring stock to a simmer, pour over grits in a bowl and allow to soften for about 15 minutes. Mix in masa harina; set aside until cool. In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or with an electric hand mixer, combine half the masa mixture and yogurt, beating for three minutes. Add remaining masa and mix another 3 minutes, to the consistency of cake batter. Add baking powder and salt to taste.

*To make yogurt cheese, pour plain yogurt into a sieve lined with cheese cloth. Set over a bowl and let drain for 4 hours.