Found in most of Central America as well as Mexico, tamales are a traditional Latin American dish made of cornmeal dough (called masa) filled with meats, cheeses, dried fruit, or sweet corn (my favorite). Tamales are wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves, steamed, and served hot. Though tamales can be found in high-class Central America restaurants, the best ones are sold by streetside vendors.
- 1350 gm Cracked corn
- 1 Chicken 2 1/2 or 3 pounds
- NOTE: Can substitute with cheese instead or leave with no filling
- 225 gm Onions chopped
- 1 tsp Achiote (make sure from tree or shrub for kosher reasons)
- 110 gm Peppers to taste
- 1 can Tomato paste
- 3 Leaves of cilantro or
- 1 tsp Oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 110 gm Capers
- 170 gm Stuffed olives
- 3 Tomatoes
- 3 Cloves garlic
- The leaves are washed, boil 20 minutes, let drain and dry. Boil the corn until soft and grind to make the masa.
- Boil the chicken until tender, remove the bones and saute in butter or oil. When this starts to brown add the onion, pepper, tomato, cilantro, oregano and tomato paste. Add 3 or 4 cups of water and cook to make the sauce.
- Strain and save both parts separately. Stir the liquid into the masa until it is a little softer than mashed potatoes.
- Take a piece of banana leaf, place a spoonful of masa in the center of the leaf, squash it down a little to make a pocket, add the meat sauce that was strained out, add another spoonful of masa and fold the leaf around it.
- Tie with string. Put a large pan of water to boil. Add the tamales. Boil for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Serve hot. They may be made ahead of time, frozen and re-heated. To re-heat, microwave or steam.