What is more Mexican than tamales? Although these take a bit longer to prepare than some other Mexican dishes, they are well worth the effort because they taste so good. Tamales are made from masa, a corn-based, starchy dough, along with your choice of filling. Here we are using spicy pork but cheese, vegetables, fruits or other meats are other options for fillings. Tamales were made by the ancient Mayans as far back as 5000 to 8000 BC and they prepared them for special feasts. The Mayans used tamales as portable food, for travelers, hunters and armies.
Tamales were featured at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, in the United States, and they have been eaten in the US since then. Mexican and other Latin American style tamale are available, but there are also indigenous styles, such as Cherokee tamales which are made with hominy and beans, and African-American tamales made from cornmeal instead of masa. In Chicago, cornmeal is piped into paper using a machine, which is a very modern way of making them. A meat pie or casserole made with tamale fillings and a cornmeal crust is referred to as a ‘tamale pie’.
Tamales are usually made in batches because of the work involved, especially if you are making your own masa (dough). So if you are having a Cinco de Mayo party, a birthday party, or just friends coming over to eat, try this wonderful tamale recipe and you will love the spicy pork filling. These are also nice looking because they are served in corn husks. Tamales can be served as appetizers or as the main dish. This recipe makes 16 tamales in total but double the recipe if you are expecting a crowd. Reduce the amount of chilies if you want them milder. Continue reading
These turkey tamales take a bit of work to make, but they taste so good that they are worth the effort. You can store leftover tamales in the freezer for a month, wrapped in plastic wrap. To reheat them, you need to remove the plastic wrap and steam them until they are hot.
So, what is a tamale exactly? Tamales are made of masa, which is a starchy dough, and then they are boiled or steamed in a leaf wrapper or corn husk. You do not eat the wrapping. Tamales can contain cheese, meat, chilies, vegetables, or any combination. The cooking liquid and filling can be seasoned.
Tamales originated between 5000 and 8000 BC in Mesoamerica. They were enjoyed by the Aztecs and Mayas, and possibly as far back as Inca times. Whether you like turkey tamales, beef tamales, cheese tamales or another kind, it is interesting to know that tamales are considered to be a Mexican comfort food. They can be served for any meal and street vendors also sell tamales. There are thought to be between 500 and 1000 different tamale recipes in Mexico. Continue reading
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