I’ve eaten tamales from other countries, but the traditional Mexican tamales are my favorite by far! My aunt Marisela, from Monterrey, makes the BEST tamales. I’ve even brought some home with me on an airplane before. That’s how yummy they are.
Preparing tamales is often reserved for special occasions because it usually turns into an all-day affair. She won’t just make a dozen or two – she’ll make hundreds! We’ll have them at Christmas, birthdays, and whenever I pay the family a visit. That is a special occasion, isn’t it? 😉
My aunt Mari usually sticks to three types – pulled pork, chicken, and refried beans – but I’ve tried many other kinds. Corn, cheese, potato, beef, sweet tamales filled with dried fruit… the possibilities are endless.
Now that I think about it, besides potato or corn, I don’t think I’ve ever just had a veggie tamal. A combination of roasted vegetables sounds delicious, doesn’t it? Haven’t tried ’em with seafood either, since that’s not a big thing in Northern Mexico. Just thinking about a lobster tamal makes my mouth water, though!
I’ve never made tamales myself, but I’ve poked my head in the kitchen enough times, I could probably make a decent attempt! To make things easier, nowadays you can find an “instant” corn masa – Maseca para Tamales – at your grocery store. Besides that you’ll need corn husks and the filling of your choice. I know my aunt adds a little extra to the masa – spices, shortening, and whatever liquid was left from cooking the filling – but I’m not 100% sure what. I’ll have to ask her one of these days. This is what I remember:
- Soak the corn husks in hot water to soften them up.
- Spread a layer of the masa mixture on each husk.
- Add the filling.
- Roll up the tamale and fold the husk over to seal.
- Steam the tamales for an hour or so, adding water as needed. My aunt uses a big pasta pot with a steamer basket.
Mmmm… nothing better than tamales straight out of the steamer! Sounds easy enough, no? I like them hot. I like them cold. I like them plain. I like them with salsa and sour cream. They freeze really well. Okay, now I’m hungry.
What kind of tamal would you like to eat? Use your imagination!
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Disclosure: This post was written as part of a compensated campaign for Latina Bloggers Connect and Maseca, but all opinions are my own.
Heidi V. says
I like the sweet ones with raisins and walnuts!
Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly says
Sounds like me with Pasteles, I’ve assisted in the process, but never made them from begining to end by myself either! 🙂
bili osi says
That sounds special. But it also sounds like the type of foods that need to “stand” on the pot all day to prepare it. How long does it take on average?
It doesn’t take too long to actually cook the tamales, just an hour or two depending on how tightly the pot is packed. 😉