A traditional Mesoamerican meal may consist of meat or vegetarian products to suit the taste of the home chef. A steamed tasty treat is seasoned with quality products to bring out the full flavors of all filling materials. Both the cook and guests will enjoy delicious tamales that are made from the highest quality ingredients purchased from a local grocer.
Quality dough is the basis for making the best product, and it is usually made of ground corn or from a corn powder. The ingredients are mixed well to produce a soft and moist shell that is steamed in corn husks or sometimes plantain leaves. The corn husk steaming adds to the flavor of the food, but it is not meant to be eaten.
The batter is traditionally mixed with lard, and this adds to the fat content of modern dishes. There are also recipes that eliminate the lard portion in the dough, and this option is favored by people trying to lower their calorie intake. The filling may consist of chicken, pork, beef or all vegetable ingredients.
A sweet tamale version will consist of sugar being added to the corn dough mixture, and the inside filled with fruits, such as raisins. The chef may want to get creative with a fruit filling by adding the freshest items that are currently in season at the food market. These sweet treats may be served as the desert once the meat filled editions are consumed by all guests.
The corn husks will need to be soaked in water to prepare them for being filled with the dough mixture. This process should be done in warm water, and the husks need to sit in the liquid for at least 30 minutes or until soft in texture. The husks will tend to float to the top and should also be weighed down with more water being added to a container.
Sauce is often added to the filling, and there are many different types that may include red liquids or salsa. Many cooks love the extra flavor from red salsa or green salsa, and these can be mild or spicy. A carnitas tamale recipe may require that sauce is added as a part of the steps to making this type of food item.
After the dough and fillings are ready, the items should be assembled and prepared to be steamed. Some hosts will allow guests to assist with the meal preparation at this point, since this assembly process is fun to do. The corn husks or plantain leaves will need to go into a pot to steam for about 40 minutes, and several cups of water should be added to the bottom of the pot.
A traditional Mexican-American food is a delicious and stomach filling meal for all guests. The food may be eaten served on the steamed corn husks, and the corn wrappings are not meant for consumption. The table presentation will look great with all items placed in a large platter, and extra sauce is served in separate bowls.