Monday, December 27, 2010

Honduran Tamales

 Now these are different than Mexican tamales.  They are not spicy, but they are a nice blend of flavors.
Abuela did things the harder way... instead of using Maseca she used masa.  Meaning she took this corn....

 Cooked it, ground it, and cooked it again to make this...
 Here's a close up after it's been cooked (yes the masa is cooked before the tamale's are assembled - if using Maseca add water and cook)   When cooking add some of the same tomato mixture that the chicken marinated in that has been reserved for the masa part.  Here it is starting to solidify just a little, it should have a cream of wheat-ish texture..
 Here is the chicken.  This is two chickens cut up (bone still in) and marinading in a tomato, garlic, cilantro (two kinds), onion, chicken bullion, and pepper mixture that has been liquified in the blender.  (As noted above save some of this mixture for adding to the masa).
 Other components:
Green beans chopped up.
 Potatoes chopped up and then put in water so they don't turn brown.
 Banana leaves  Which are heated on the stove until pliable.
 Here's the big basket of banana leaves.
 Here we go... assembling the tamale.

First lay out banana leaves until you've got a good base one or two if they aren't ripped and if they are then add a third just to be safe.  Add a good size spoonful of the cooked masa (or Maseca) mixture
 Nest, add a piece of the (raw) chicken.
 Add a few of the diced potatoes:
And then add a few of the green beans:
 Top it off with a little of the marinade and then wrap it up kind of like a burrito with the sides tucked in.
Then after you get all your tamales made comes the cooking part...

Take a big pot and put some water in it.  Take some extra banana leaves and put them on top of the water.  What you're doing here is making a steam bath for the tamales.  You don't want them sitting in the water, and you also don't want them to burn on the bottom of the pan.  
Then you steam them until they are done. You want the chicken to be cooked.  I think it's pretty hard to over cook these.... you want to make sure that the chicken is cooked.  
Check your water level from time to time... you wouldn't want to run out of water and then start burning banana leaves.... 

When they first come out the masa mixture will still be runny... That solidifies as they cool down.  

I've also seen it where they add a few peas, another addition could be an olive (with thie pit in- I didn't eat the olive, it just adds to the flavor of the tamale)
I've also seen it where the meat is pre-cooked, so you don't actually have to cook the tamale, just let it steam for a little while so all the flavors have time to marry.  If you do it this way add a little oil (or broth from cooking the chicken) to the masa/Maseca mixture, when cooking tamale's with raw meat & bone in, the fat is distributed through the tamale giving it a nice texture & added flavor.

If you don't have banana leaves you can use aluminum foil.  The banana leaves to add a little flavor, so if you can only find a few lay out your foil, and then a piece of banana leaf and then the rest of the tamale ingredients.

1 comment:

James said...

They are delicious. My mom is from Honduras, and she makes them on occasion. Ask your grannie, if she could make another Honduran tamal, called the montuca. These tamales are cooked in the same corn husk from which you removed the corn from.