Five steps for a successful tamalada

I adore tamales; they remind me of the holidays and various special occasions. When I smell them, I get a warm, fuzzy feeling inside that is hard to explain. No other food gives me the same exact feeling, actually.

There were tamales at my wedding shower in Mexico (called a despedida). There have always been tamales available for birthdays and Christmas and Día de La Candelaria. In fact, on Día de Los Reyes, I’ve had the luck to get the baby Jesus figurine in my piece of Rosca de Reyes several times in the past. As tradition goes, if you get the figurine, you’re responsible for bringing tamales for everyone on Día de La Candelaria. When José’s abuela passed away, everyone came back to the house after the prayer service to have tamales, like she would have wanted us to. They’re a staple and a symbol in Mexican cuisine.

So, it might surprise you to find out that I’ve never before hosted my own tamalada—a tamal-making party. Yes, it’s true. I’ve never hosted one, but I really want to in the coming year! My favorite savory tamales are usually tamales de pollo con salsa verde and when it comes to the sweet variety, un tamal de chocolate makes my mouth water and my heart skip a beat. I’ve made tamales on my own at home but never had a party and invited friends and family to help out and enjoy them with me afterward.

One reason a lot of people don’t make their own tamales at home is because it’s a bit labor intensive. There are several steps to successfully making them, and it’s time-consuming. To make it worthwhile, a tamalada is the perfect solution because everyone gathers together at one place and forms an assembly-line style workforce to get everything finished in less time. Then you can steam them in your tamalera. When they’re done, it’s party time! There’s nothing quite like a freshly-steamed tamal, whether it’s savory or sweet.

Here are the five basic steps for a successful tamalada, according to the advice I’ve received and what I’ve observed, and that I plan to follow when I host mine:

  • Ideally, as a hostess, you’ll have the masa ready in advance. I’m not suggesting you grind your corn from scratch and all that (unless you want to). But for a modern tamalada, it’s perfectly acceptable to buy pre-made masa at a tortillería or grocery store, or use Maseca instant masa without feeling guilty.
  • Every tamal needs a little grasa in the masa! If your tamal is lacking moisture, it might because you didn’t use any manteca. You don’t have to use a lot, but it helps with the consistency and flavor. The best tamales are the ones that have light and fluffy masa that isn’t dry.
  • Depending on which region your tamales come from, you’ll use either cornhusks or banana leaves to wrap them. Either way, they need to be pliable. Cornhusks need to be soaked in water well in advance so they won’t rip. Banana leaves can be heated and soaked, too.
  • You’re going to need a filling (or a few different fillings, depending on how many tamales you plan to made). You can use shredded meats stewed in salsa, vegetables such as rajas or even sweet fillings using fruit (my favorite is strawberry). Make sure your filling isn’t too wet when it comes time to spread it over the masa, or you’ll end up with weird, soggy tamales.
  • Learn how to wrap that tamal up! It’s really easy to learn how to properly fold the cornhusk. You can even find tons of advice on YouTube with how-to videos on the subject. I like to also use a small strip of cornhusk to tie a little bow around the middle to keep the flap closed for steaming. I find that closing it up completely gets the tamal uniformly steamed with no dry spots near the top.

Check out these recipes from Maseca for all kinds of different tamales.

  • Have you hosted a tamalada? Do you have any tips for me?

This is a sponsored post through a campaign with Maseca and Latina Bloggers Connect. Though I am being compensated for participating, all opinions, recipes and stories are my own.

Sin maíz no hay país: tortillas and tradition with Maseca

¡Hola a todos y feliz fin de semana!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably hear the phrase “sin maíz no hay país” about a million times in your lifetime, and probably even taught it to others when explaining Mexican cuisine. Literally, it means “without corn, there is no country.”

As one of the basic staples of Mexican cuisine, corn is very important as a form of nutrition in Mexico; and it can mean anything from tamales to sopes to plain and simple tortillas con crema y sal. There are so many options, you’ll even see street food snacks centered around corn such as esquites and you can use corn masa in beverages such as atole. When I named my blog “The Other Side of The Tortilla,” it was, in part, because of the importance of corn and the tortilla in Mexican cuisine.

The tortilla pictured above is actually a photo of one of the very first tortillas I made from scratch as a newlywed. Even though it wasn’t perfect, I was so proud that I had to take a photo to commemorate it and send it to my suegra. Obviously, tortillas are a staple in our household and it’s practically a crisis if we run out. That’s why I not only keep tortillas in the refrigerator at all times to avoid a family-style meltdown, but also a bag of Maseca masa instantánea in my kitchen cabinet so that if we do run out, I can quickly make some more without much fuss about a tortilla apocalypse on the horizon.

And so, I’m happy to announce a new partnership between Maseca and The Other Side of The Tortilla! We’re one of ten blogs that has been chosen as an ambassador for Maseca’s Amigas Blogueras community.

Maseca has relaunched their website at MiMaseca.com with tons of recipes (including a section that made me giggle uncontrollably called “Sorprende a tu suegra”—in English: “Surprise your mother-in-law”), nutrition information and tips, and great promotions such as the ¡Compra, raspa y gana! sweepstakes where you can scratch and win prizes from Maseca products to getting your entire grocery bill paid for in your local supermarket if the Maseca team is visiting your town.

I encourage you to follow along on Twitter using the hashtag #clubmimaseca, check out the Maseca Facebook fan page and stay tuned here for more information on eating healthy, new recipes featuring Maseca products and some really fantastic Maseca giveaways!

  • Tell me in the comments below: What’s your favorite Maseca product or way to use Maseca at home?
This is a sponsored post through a campaign with Maseca and Latina Bloggers Connect. Though I am being compensated for participating, all opinions, recipes and stories are my own.
Related Posts with Thumbnails