A cuisine as rich and diverse as Mexico’s needs for us to make an effort to preserve what has been passed on. But, you also have to keep an open mind to new ideas that may in turn become classics. In that sense, I find the kitchen to be one of the most humbling places because food is always growing and evolving and taking you along, if you let it. You get to constantly learn, apply what you learn, share it, and then start all over again. Take tamales for example. I have made countless kinds from all regions of Mexico and from different historical times.
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tamales recipe from Season Six of Pati’s Mexican Table
Tamales are practically required on so many December holidays. Take Posadas. And Christmas. Not to mention New Year’s. Wait, of course, that spills over to January with Día de Reyes. Then it continues in February for Día de la Candelaria… It seems to me that the tamal coloradito is particularly festive because, aside from tamales screaming out for celebration on their own, this one is filled with quite a stunner of a mole sauce. And moles are cause for celebration, too! Pair the two into one bite, and you have a happy crowd.
Mini Pibis, or Tamales Colados de Pollo, recipe from Season Five of Pati’s Mexican Table.
Tamales de Pollo con Salsa Verde
Tamales de Zarzamora y Nuez
28 MAY 2015 6:45 PM to 8:45 PM I’m thrilled to present for the Smithsonian Associates in Washington, DC! I will be talking about Mexico’s culinary traditions, followed by a tasting of tamales. I hope you can join me for a fun evening. A culinary tour of Mexico, focusing on food traditions that reflect the…
Yes, you can improvise and steam tamales in a seafood or lobster steamer, a Chinese steamer, any steamer, or even a pasta pot if it has an insert that sits above the bottom. However, the tamaleras are one of a kind. No wonder: Mexicans have been steaming tamales since pre-Hispanic times, so it’s no surprise the Mexican tamalera outdoes all other steamers when it comes to cooking tamales.
Corn has been a central part of the Mexican diet and culture since ancient times. Not only is it eaten fresh in its many varieties, its dried kernels are used for an infinity of things, including masa to make everything from tortillas to tamales. It’s husks are also treasured as an ingredient to wrap and cook food in. Tamales, of course, have remained the wrapped and cooked food par excellence in Mexico.