I know, if you aren’t Mexican you might be wondering what tamales are. Well tamales are… how do I put it? Tamales are a traditional Mesoamerican dish made of corn-based starchy dough, which is steamed in a leaf wrapper after being filled with some traditional dish.
Tamales have been around for 8,000 to 5,o0o years in precolonial American continent. Tamales became one of the most representatives dishes of Mexican culinary tradition and, in my opinion, they are unique. An Australian friend has been nagging me about posting a recipe for tamales, but believe me, it will take at least a 3 pages long post for that.
I sort off learnt how to make tamales this Christmas, at the Perez’s house we aren’t kidding when it comes to making tamales. My mum takes these massive pots (steamers) from the covert, mixes 4 to 6 kilos of tamale dough, cooks 3 to 5 different fillings, prepare the leaves and sets the table to start the assembly line. We are able to make from 100 to 200 tamales in a couple of hours, then we cook them for 1.5 hours and voila!
There are several types of tamales: wrapped on corn or banana leaves, filled with pork, chicken, pumpkin and dried shrimp, refried beans and cheese, or mole tamales, you name it. They usually go well with the green salsa I mentioned before. We eat tamales during the most important festivities in Mexico, like the Day of the Dead, Christmas, Independence Day, and February the 2nd.
There are some recipes I found around the internet that sound about right on how to make this traditional dish. There are vegetarian tamales as well, but hey, who has time for that, right? These are easy to follow recipes, so give it a try and go for it, you’ll be the star of the party if you bring tamales!
Ps3. Recipe for the tamale dough, it is easy to follow and you can add or replace some of the spices in it
Ps4. I might be moving to Mexico City soon, will keep you posted.