Here is the recipe I use for making tamales:
1 1/4 c. masa harina
1 1/4 c. hot water
10 Tb. lard (or veg. shortening)
1 1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1/4. c. chilled chicken stock (or other stock or water)
1. Put masa in a mixer with paddle attachement. Slowly add water until a soft dough forms. Mix for 5 minutes more.
2. Allow dough to chill and rest for 1 hour in a fridge.
3. Put back in mixer and mix on high and mix for 5 minutes.
4. Add the lard 2 Tb. at a time until all is in corporated. Mix for 5 minutes longer, until light and fluffy.
5. Mix together the salt, baking powder, and stock. Add to masa and mix for 5 minutes more.
That is the basic tamale dough. Fill with whatever ingredients you desire and steam for about 30-45 minutes depending on the size of your tamales. I usually use corn husks for wrapping tamales, but if you dont have any or need to save time you can wrap them in plastic wrap.