I'd like to have a go at making tamales, but the corn husk wrappers are hard to come by here. Is there anything I can use as a substitute wrapper?
I've had the same problem once. The first substitute is banana leaves. But they're not easy to find either.
The second one is using big leaves of chard. Tamales will be done in the same time and you could eat the leaf if you want. I've tried it once and it came out great.
PS. My mexican mother in law used to do it with chard.
My mom (from Guadalajara) used to often wrap them in parchment paper, since it can withstand being heated/steamed. I don't know why she started doing it - probably because it annoyed her that the delicious filling often oozed out of the tamales during the steaming. Anyway, Just to make sure, I would use double sheets the first time you try the parchment to replace the corn husks. There really wont be any difference in flavor.