Every day i am having fun. Luckily i am not just a pastry chef but a normal chef as well – so i am literally hungry for some salty knowledge as well… and some days my dream is coming true… like on this one with the tamales….
Tamale is a very typical food mostly in South America – i would say “plate” but the point is that its not a plate. Its a yummy thing wrapped in some leaves so its perfect for “take away”. Tamales are like corn bread with stuffing steamed in corn or banana leaves – depending on the region.
Nobody makes tamales… everybody just buys it. Its very easy to prepare but u are not going to make 4 pieces for a dinner… if u jump in it u make like 104 pieces. Not less.
First of all… u need to get your massa de maíz – it is a kindof dry dough made of water and nixtamalized white corn flour. (this white corn is not the same like we have in Europe)
Nixtamalized? Yes…. easy explanation: u soak some stuff in some alkaline solution to cook it easier after. U use for any grains – easier to grain, better flavour etc… but its f*cking amazing if u try with other vegetables or fruits containing pectin : for example u soak your pumpkin or apple cubes in water with calcium oxide for a couple of hours… after u start to cook them in normal water and u will get a result amazing: the shape stays perfect (without overcook it, smash it) but inside its creamy puree.
U will need lard. Pigs lard. A lot of pigs lard. (depending on u of course, but usually like half half). Mix the massa with the lard – very well. At this point u can mix some other stuff in the dough – like seeds or chilli puree. Your stuffing is ready.
If u have dry corn leaves – u need to soak them in water a day ahead to become flexible. If u use banana leaves – u need to warm them above fire to make them flexible. Its ready when it becomes shiny and easy to turn, wrap.
Nothing else left but get your leaves and stuff them with your dough. U can put anything in the center – traditionally the stuffing is changing from countries – here in Mexico is popular to find tamales with cheese, ground beef or pollo with mole. U should steam your tamales in a very f*cking big pot on fire. Well – our steaming oven still did the job.
Steam them and eat them. :)
footnote 1: u can find sweet tamales – prepared with sweet yellow corn with fuits, raisins and nuts what makes it perfect for breakfast
footnote 2: u drink hot atolle or champurrado with tamales – its like a hot chocolate but u get your liquid thicker using the same corn massa
footnote 3: the day before i was lucky enough to prepare some chicken in salsa mole from scratch – we used this for our tamales. Next chapter will be about mole – however it seems like a never ending story…