What is a tamale? A tamale is a unique and very traditional Mexican dish that has been around for thousands of years with little changes. A tamale is a steam bundle of masa which contains a tasty filling that is wrapped and cooked in a corn husk. The tamale is a popular food that is found in many Mexican restaurants and makes for the perfect meal while on the go. Eddie’s Mexican Restaurant would like to shine the spotlight on tamales and break down what makes them such a great and tasty dish.
What Does a Tamale Consist Of?
You can break down a tamale into three basic components.
• Masa – Masa is a key ingredient in a lot of Mexican cooking, including a tamale. Masa is a dough made from grounded corn that has been treated with water and lime. When breaking down a tamale recipe, one discovers that most tamales are made with 60% masa and 40% filling. Masa is a key ingredient for the tamale and without it, it wouldn’t be much of a tamale.
• Tamale Filling – A tamale is made with a tasty filling. Ancient South Americans would fill their tamale with a wide range of meats and vegetables. Modern Tamales are usually prepared with seasoned pork, chicken or beef that is often marinated in a mole sauce or salsa. However, you can also find tamales filled with vegetables, beans and or cheese.
• Tamale Wrapper – One of the iconic elements of a tamale is its wrapper. The masa and filling is wrapped in a corn husk, which helps maintain its shape until it is cooked. The tamale is then cooked inside the husk and is then unwrapped. The wrapper makes the tamale a perfect meal for hunters and soldiers that have to stay on the move. However, today you will find it in many restaurants and is sold by street vendors.
How Tamales Evolved By Region
Depending on the region, you will find a wide variety of tamale recipes. In southern Mexico, tamales were not always wrapped in a corn husk. Due to the climate, corn does not grow, which is why people of this region used agave leaves instead. Near the Oaxaca area, locals used banana or plantain leaves as they were more abundant. The type of wrapper used greatly influenced the flavor of the tamale and each tasted much different. Not only were different wrappers used depending on the region, but the filling greatly varied as well. The tamale nejos have no filling and are 100% corn masa. Tamale nejos are often served with beans and coffee. Not all tamales were made as a hardy lunch or dinner, but instead were served as a dessert! A dessert tamale can be filled with a sugar sweetened masa accompanied with some fruit! If you have never had a dessert tamale before, know that they are tasty!
Authentic Mexican Cuisine in Las Vegas, Nevada (Just Minutes from Summerlin, North LV, Paradise, Lone Mountain & Henderson, NV)
At Eddie’s Mexican Restaurant you can come down and try a wide variety of tamales. We make it how you like it! For great Mexican cuisine come on down or order to go at Eddie’s Mexican Restaurant today!