Tamales are one of Mexico’s favorite dishes, and one that is greatly enjoyed in Puerto Vallarta. It is a traditional dish that could be considered one of our Mexican fast foods.
In Mexico, we eat tamales regularly, but there is one day that most people delight in this simple treat: February 2nd, “Día de la Candelaria”. On this day, known as Candle Mass Day in English, many people dress up figures of baby Jesus and go to church to have them blessed. However, the greatest majority of people, even if they’re not catholic, celebrate by eating tamales.
On the 6th of January, we celebrate the Three Wise Men and eat “Rosca de Reyes”, a delicious pastry shaped like a ring. In Mexico, we hide a little baby figure in the dough, and those who find it, are meant to throw a party on February 2nd with tamales and atole, both products of maize.
I’d like to share a recipe for delicious tamales with you! So here it is:
Tamales are made with white maize dough that is filled with salty or sweet preparations. The most popular tamales are red and green, made with red and green tomatoes and beef. The dough is steam cooked in corn leaves and results in a soft and fluffy treat you must try!
- 1 l water
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ onion
- 750 g of pulled pork or shredded chicken
- 100 g of “chile ancho” (dried Poblano chili)
- ¼ kg red tomatoes
- 3 tbsp. cooking oil
- ½ kg lard
- 1 kg maize dough
- ¼ cup of pork stock
- 2 rolls of corn leaves (enough for rolling up 30 tamales)
Preparation of the dough:
Beat the lard with a wooden spoon until it doubles its size. Loosen the maize dough with ¼ cup of the stock where you cooked the meat. Add the lard and salt and continue to beat until a small balled-up piece of the dough floats in a glass of water.
Preparation of the tamal:
Set the water to boil with 2 garlic cloves, ½ onion and salt. Add the pork or chicken, sliced, and simmer for 1 hour and a half (chicken requires less cooking time). Let cool and shred the meat.
Clean the inside of the chili and set to boil with the tomatoes for 20 minutes. Once cooked, grind and cook with 2 tbsp. of oil.
The corn leaves must be left in water for two to three hours until they’re soft and flexible.
Place 2 spoons of dough in the center of a corn leaf. Extend the dough up to the edges of the leaf and then place 1 spoonful of meat and sauce inside. Fold the leaf by taking the edges to the center and bending the tips downwards.
Place the tamales in the steamer vertically with a bed of leaves in the bottom and another layer of leaves on top. Put the lid on the steamer and cook for 1 hour or until the dough is easily parted from the leaf.
Eat hot (don’t eat the leaves!) 😀 You can have them with atole or champurrado on the side.
Come to Puerto Vallarta, have some fun with us, and try our fabulous tamales!