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Recipe: Tamales - Guatemalan Steamed Wraps


Guatemalan families eagerly anticipate tamales each Christmas - they’re delicious! People start enjoying tamales at the beginning of December. Savoury or sweet, every recipe is a little different because every grandmother and mother puts their own unique touch in their dishes.

This recipe comes to us courtesy of Monique! Monique works as the Child Sponsor Communications specialist in the FH Guatemala office. She especially enjoys tamales on Christmas Eve.

RECADO: THE FILLING

Ingredients:
1 ½ pounds of ripe tomatoes

2 large pimento or red bell peppers
3 dried red chile peppers
4 Tbs. pumpkin seeds (pepitoria)
4 Tbs. sesame seeds (de ajonjoli)
1 ½ Tbs. ground cinnamon
2 Tbs. lard or butter
1 tsp. achiote / annatto (substitute with equal parts paprika and turmeric)
salt to taste
1 ½ pounds thinly sliced pork
Cooking Instructions:
Thinly slice pork and chop bacon. Set aside.
Boil tomatoes, pimento peppers, and chile peppers in a minimal amount of water. When soft, blend together with the achiote. Strain the mixture with a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Set aside.

Lightly toast pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds. Grind seeds (use a processor, grinder, rolling pin - whatever is handy!) together with cinnamon powder. Mix into tomato-peppers blend. Return to heat and add lard and pork. Boil for about 20 minutes. The recado sauce should be thick and a bit salty.

MASA: TAMALE DOUGH

Ingredients: 
¾ cups dry rice
2 ½ cups dry masa (substitute with corn flour)
1 cup lard or butter
salt


Cooking Instructions:  Place rice in pot with 1 ¾ cups water. Bring to boil, cover and reduce heat. Cook for 20 minutes. Mash/blend rice with immersion blender. Set aside. In a bowl, combine masa flour in 2 cups of water and stir, ensuring there are no lumps. In a large pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil and add liquefied masa flour. Stir constantly on high heat.

When the masa starts to thicken, add blended rice. Continue stirring and salt well. If the mixture gets extremely thick, add more water. Once mixture is smooth and masa is cooked, remove from heat and stir in lard / butter. Masa dough is finished when the lard/butter is melted and mixture looks shiny. 


HOJASY ADORNOS: ASSEMBLING & COOKING THE TAMALE

Ingredients:
6 - 8 plantain leaves (substitute with wax paper)
2 bundles of maxan (mojan) leaves (substitute with foil)
1 bunch cibaque (substitute with kitchen twine)
½ pound of thick bacon chopped
3 pimento or red bell peppers, roasted
½ cup pitted and sliced olives
½ cup capers
½ cup raisins


Tropical Cooking Instructions:
Cut the maxan leaves at their thickest point, clean them and place in the sun to dry out. Cut the plantain leaves into squares about 25 centimetres (10 inches) in width and length.

Roast the pimento peppers until peel loosens. Remove peel and cut into thin strips. While peppers roast, fry and chop bacon.

Place a plantain leaf diagonally on top of a maxan leaf. Spoon a generous portion of masa onto the centre of the plantain leaf, leaving enough room around the edges to fold it closed. Cover the masa mixture with a generous serving of recado (make sure each serving gets meat!). Top with bacon, olives, capers, and strips of pimento. Fold the leaves so that they overlap and form a closed pocket. Tie firmly with cibaque.

Line a large pot with leftover plantain leaves, add 3 cups of water (just covering the bottom of the pot) and bring to a boil. Layer tamales inside the pot and cover. Steam slowly for about an hour. Watch the pot to make sure it does not boil dry, adding water periodically as needed.
Cut wax paper into squares about 25 centimetres (10 inches) in width and length.

Roast pimento peppers until peel loosens. Remove peel and cut into thin strips. While peppers roast, fry and chop bacon.

Place a wax paper square diagonally on top of a rectangular piece of foil. Spoon a generous portion of masa onto the centre of the wax paper, leaving room around the edges to fold it closed. Cover the masa mixture with a generous serving of recado. Top with bacon, olives, capers, and strips of pimento. Fold the wax paper so that the edges overlap, forming a closed pocket. Wrap wax paper loosely in a strip of foil. Tie firmly with kitchen twine.

Add about one or two inches of water to the bottom of a large pot. Place a metal colander or steamer inside and bring water to a boil. Layer tamales inside steamer/colander and cover. Steam slowly for about an hour. Watch the pot to make sure it does not boil dry, adding water periodically as needed.




Recipe: Tamales - Guatemalan Steamed Wraps Reviewed by Eryn on 9:59 AM Rating: 5
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