Author : Efrain S.
It’s not Christmas without some tamales, am I right? Well, at least, for some of my best friends whom I grew up with in my local neighborhood, it’s not. A true Mexican tradition that can not be over – looked by someone who maintains their cultural values, and one celebrated regardless of which city in MEXICO you happen to live in ( or grew up in, as well ) , Mexican tamales are a “must or bust” as they say, for any true Mexican. I love these, and though I have not had a chance to eat them at every Christmas, I can still say that several of my Holiday seasons have been filled with cheer in getting to try these ( much more take a few left – overs home, he he he heh ) ….
My good friend Andrew’s mom made these every year, and they had me and my family over on more than one Christmas, I will say…they always made these special tamales in a large pot, one so large that a whole hungry group of 20 + people could not finish the whole thing in one sitting ( so that is when we were invited to take any left – overs home, which lasted us for the next couple of days, extra food of which my belly never complains or gets tired of, he he heh ) .
And when it comes to the way that you make this dish or meal, I will first of all say this : That these tamales are mainly comprised of 3 unique components or parts. Know what they are, by chance? They’re the husk, the corn meal ( or lard, or both as a mixed ‘masa’ ) and, of course, the filling or what will go inside ( is usually meat of some sort, can be beef, chicken, pork, etc…..but for vegetarians, can just be vegetables ) .
The husk, or corn husk, I should more properly say, looks soft on the outside and inside but is, in fact, firm and resolute, so do not be fooled…it meets its mission well, which is to hold your filling inside without breaking or falling apart, even after it has been so carefully packaged and wrapped up with light rope at the end ( specially made for cooking tamales ) , just like a sensitive UPS envelope or box, he he he heh….
This husk is made to hold in a decent amount of stuffing ( of course, given that you, as the “stuffer”, use common sense and not over – stuff, so that the tamale does not weigh or contain more than it should, but you are smart and know that already ) . In most traditional Mexican ( or even 2nd – generation Mexican – American ) house holds today, these Christmas tamales are stuffed with a chile, or at the least, some spicy red or green chili sauce. It’s part of the rich flavor that goes into the whole thing. It makes a difference to have.