What this is all about

Being a December graduate, I have decided to keep an open schedule and mind.  I have no definite plans for at least 5 months, and even then, nothing is certain.  This is all very new for me--I've always had a set plan of what I'm doing next.  Now, although I know the general direction I am heading, I am allowing opportunities to come to me that might have otherwise been lost if I had already made plans.
Join me for the ride as I begin to Learn By Living!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Patience by way of Tamal!

The majority of those rounded up and deported were Guatemalan. There used to be a few stores owned and run by Guatemalans. There was only one left that I could find. There, I was able to find flour to make tamales/chuchitos, corn husks, and special chocolate to make choco-bananas. There is a difference between tamales and chuchitos, at least for some of us. In the USA, tamales are mostly thought of as small flour, meat, and cheese goodness wrapped up in a corn husk…In Guatemala, we call this a Chuchito. A tamale, or a tamal as we say, is actually a melt-in-your-mouth concoction wrapped in a banana leaf and usually about 3 times the size of a chuchito. So I made chuchitos for the first time, lots of them. I always knew they were time intensive, but never as much as they actually were to make. Mixing the masa; cutting the chile without touching anything else (even after washing several time I touched my lips and had a burn from the chile for a long time); soaking the corn husks,; choosing a small (inner shell) and large (outer shell) husk; tearing some husks to make the ties for the tamales; putting just enough cheese so that it doesn’t seep out of the masa enclave but not too little so that the tamal turns out dry; rolling and shaping the masa once the outer shell is on to make the small rectangular shape; tying it with a strip of husk without breaking it; steaming about 5 tamales at a time in our non-industrial stove top steamer for at least one hour for each batch; repeat 100 times.

1 comment:

  1. besides making me very hungry (i don't think it's too surprising that they don't have much in way of latin american food in england!) and just a bit homesick, the labor intensive process you described gives me even more appreciation for friends and family who make nacatamales, the nicaraguan version which includes masa, pork, chile, potatoes, tomatoes, prunes, olives, and citrus. i intend to do a little "research" project when i get home--sampling different incarnations of the tamal from various latin american countries. thanks for the inspiration... and a bit of home. miss you sweetie xxxx