Blogging is on again, thanks to my dear, wonderful, brilliant husband who was able to figure out a solution to my blog issue. Yay!
So, back to the title…
This isn’t a recipe; it was a spur-of-the-moment decision to document a generations-old process, but that means the quality of the photos isn’t great. I ended up taking them with my phone because it didn’t even occur to me to bring my camera with me.
Next year I’ll be sure to bring my camera and may even include a recipe, but until then…
The Tamale Making Tradition
Tamales, as in many states with close ties to Mexico and its culture, are a traditional food in New Mexico. This is especially true around December and the holiday season where you’ll see them everywhere from supermarkets to swap meets.
It’s a tradition in my husband’s family for all the women to get together the day after Thanksgiving—all 4 generations—and make tamales for the family. This was my second year being a part of this tradition, and it is so much fun!
I never actually liked tamales that much until I had these tamales—they are so moist and full of flavor, unlike the dry, pasty and pretty much tasteless tamales I’d had before. And my husband’s aunt makes the perfectly spicy old-family-recipe red chile sauce that makes anything it’s put on 10 times better, no matter how good it was to start with (seriously!).
It’s a long, fun process making tamales, but the best part is definitely eating them at the end.
The Tamale Making Process
Making tamales is a labor-intensive process that includes many steps and ingredients. It took most of the morning, and I only take part in the second half of the process.
We begin with piles and piles of dried cornhusks that have been soaked in water to make them more pliable:
Next we make the masa (corn meal mush/paste) and the red chile sauce/pork mixture:
We spread the masa onto the cornhusk first, then the pork/red chile sauce:
And then wrap and tie them all up!
Next, the tamales are steamed in a big pot like this:
And finally we get this:
So that’s the (very simplified) tamale-making tradition. It’s a special tradition, and one that I’m happy to be able to take a part in now.
And now that I’m back (and hopefully without any further technology-related issues), there are more posts to come (and I promise they won’t all have to do with New Mexican cooking)! Until next time!
Questions? Comments? Comment and share!