Culture

Mexican Tamales: Learn How to Make this Tasty Tradition for Your Feasting Table

So you’re craving tamales but don’t wanna embarrass yourself in front of your abuela by asking for la receta?

Don’t worry, we got you.

No matter what filling you go with – green chili, queso, jalapeño, chicken with red chili, pork, sweet corn – this recipe will make your mami, your abuela, your novio/novia beyond proud!

First, let’s check out the first step – the ingredients:

10 Pounds of masa

6 Pounds of pork

6 Tomatoes

5 Garlic cloves

1 Onion

16 Guajillo chilis

Packet of corn husks

Salt

Pepper

2 Tbsp of chicken broth

Thyme

Now that we know what we need, let’s get down to business.

Instructions:

  1. Let the corn husks soak in hot water while following the next steps.
  2. Over medium heat, cook the meat until most of the grease has been released.
  3. While the meat is cooking, prepare the salsa: Add 10 chilis to a pot of boiling water, then add the 6 tomatoes, 3 garlic cloves and 1/4 of the onion. Remove from heat and blend when combined.
  4. Pour the salsa over the meat and season with salt, pepper, thyme, and 2 tbsp of chicken stock (or consomé). Cover and cook on low heat.
  5. For the masa, bring water to a boil and cook remaining 6 chilis, 2 garlic cloves, and ½ onion. Once soft, remove from heat and blend together until combined.
  6. Add some of the prepared salsa to the masa for color and mix by hand until blended.
  7. Wash the corn husks removing any debris or stray hairs.
  8. Add 3 tbsps of masa and 1 tbsp of meat to the washed corn husks. Then fold and seal the tamal (wrapping in a second husk is optional.)
  9. Add them to the tamalera and cook for 1.5 hours.
  10. Enjoy!

Remember, making tamales is not something you’re just gonna whip up for dinner one night.

Credit: Zhu / Flickr

You can easily spend the entire day working in the kitchen soaking corn husks, steaming masa, and wrapping the filling into cute and tasty regalitos.

But once you bite into your finished tamal…uff.

And hearing that “Buen hecho, mijo” from your mami…priceless.

With something as important to our Mexican identity and culture as tamales are, it’s important to know some facts.

Tamales Go Way, Way Back

Credit: Nikkijw / Flickr

Pretty much every Latino family recalls their abuela’s tamales recipes, or maybe even their abuela’s abuelita’s recipe. But did you know that the tamal tradition dates back to 8,000 B.C.? That’s a long line of abuelas doing their thing!

Thousands of years ago, maize was the most important crop in Mesoamerica. It was so important and special that our ancestors believed that human beings were created from corn.

Maybe because tamales were wrapped in corn husks (just like regalos) and associated with ritual offerings, they have been a staple part of Mexican celebrations: think Christmas, Dia de La Candelaria, bautizos, and weddings.

Tamales Are All Over Latin America

Credit: Dennis Schrader | Unsplash

Sure, Mexican tamales may be the most common variety here in the United States but our brothers and sisters across Central and South America often have their own take on the tamal.

Abuelas in Mexico’s southwestern state of Oaxaca make tamales Oaxacaqueños filled with chicken and onions flavored with the richness of mole negro.

In Venezuela, tamales or “hallacas” are stuffed with pork, raisins, and olives and wrapped in plantain leaves. A variation of the tamal makes an appearance in Cuba as well. Here they go by “tamal en cazuela,” a corn masa and meat dish cooked together into a tasty porridge.

And in Nicaragua, they have “nacatamales.” Here, the filling isn’t precooked, instead it’s filled with raw meat and then steamed which gives the masa a much more intense flavor.

Making tamales is a pain in the a**.

Credit: Gimme Some Oven

Your mami knows it. Your abuela knows it. Why do you think they’re always trying to get your help in the kitchen?

If you’re going to give tamal-making a go, you’ll need to clear your schedule since it’ll be the only thing you do all day.

But, I mean, they’re so good it’s definitely worth it.

La Tamalada 101

Credit: Taiana Martinez Tai | Unsplash

So you’ve decided to embrace your Mexican identity. Or maybe you wanna impress your family or significant other. If you’re gonna tackle tamal-making, you should definitely enlist some help.

In fact, the act of preparing tamales has its own name: la tamalada, which means “tamal-making party.”

Why do you think tamales are so good at uniting family members through generations? Us newbies get a chance to learn from wiser generations while connecting over shared history, identity, and culture.

Making Mexican tamales from scratch requires a few important steps:

Credit: @_yamiarmendariz / Twitter
  • First, you must prepare the corn dough, or masa.
  • Next, you must prepare the filling. Do you want meat or veggies? Do you prefer sweet tamales or savory? Given the various fillings possible, deciding which filling may be the most difficult part of the tamale-making process.
  • After choosing the filling, it’s time to soak the corn husks in water. This step requires careful attention. For some, it’s like giving a baby a bath. Each corn husk must be rinsed and soaked. The corn silk threads must be removed and the husk cleaned.
  • Next comes the fun part, assembly! This is when the family joins in the spreading, filling, and wrapping, of each tamal.

Now for the assembly – this takes practice!

Credit: ricardo / Flickr
  • Spreading: First, be sure your corn husks are dry. If they are wet or damp, the masa will not stay put. Spreading the masa on the corn husk takes patience. Tamal experts often use a spatula to spread the masa onto the corn husk in broad strokes. But not too much! Spreading too much masa will make the tamal impossible to fold. A generous, even layer will do just fine.
  • Filling: After you have a layer of masa spread on the corn husk, it’s time to scoop a dollop of your filling into the center of the masa. One or two tablespoons of filling is plenty. If you add too much filling, you will have a heck of a time wrapping your tamales.
  • Wrapping: Wrapping the tamal is easier than it looks. Simply fold one side over the other. Make sure that the thinner end of the tamal is placed right side up. You may wrap each tamal in parchment paper during steaming.
  • Cooking: Steam them or even microwave them. Making tamales is an intense step-by-step process but when it comes to actually cooking them, they’re pretty simple.

Are you ready for your own La Tamalada?

Credit: Kara Gomez / Flickr

Preparing tamales requires many steps. Maybe this is why no one ever just makes “a few” tamales. You’d have to be loco to go all through this for just four tamales.

One makes tamales when you’re ready to make dozens of tamales. That’s another reason to be surrounded by family and friends at La Tamalada.

Provechito!

READ: There Are People Out There Eating The Corn Husk On Their Tamales And One Twitter Thread Is Exposing Them

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Missouri Woman Seen Holding Pelosi Sign Faces First Judge In Series Of Court Dates For Federal Charges

Things That Matter

Missouri Woman Seen Holding Pelosi Sign Faces First Judge In Series Of Court Dates For Federal Charges

homegrownterrorists / Instagram

Update January 21, 2021

A Missouri woman named Emily Hernandez had a court hearing in St. Louis after her involvement in the Capitol riots. Hernandez, 21, is facing several federal charges after participating in the deadly Capitol riot.

Emily Hernandez is facing the music after storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

According to KSDK, Hernandez, who is from Sullivan, Missouri, has been released without bond after her first hearing in St. Louis. She has been ordered to stay in the Eastern District of Missouri until her next court date in Washington. Part of the terms of her release is that she is not allowed to travel to Washington other than for her court date.

During the hearing, she was recorded saying, “I’m sorry, I’m nervous.”

Hernandez is facing the following federal charges: knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds, disorderly conduct which impedes the conduct of government business, steal, sell, convey or dispose of anything of value in the United States, disruptive conduct in the Capitol buildings, parading, demonstrating or picketing in the Capitol buildings.

Original: After a group of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol Jan. 6, people immediately started identifying the intruders. Videos have been circulating and people are steadily contacting the FBI to expose them. Instagram page @homegrownterrorists is one of the leading forces in identifying the rioters.

On Jan. 6, people stormed our Capitol building and the American people are demanding justice.

Images of people storming the Capitol building and looting the offices of members of Congress startled people around the world. One of the safest places in the world was overrun by far-right Trump supporters attacking the democratic process. Americans are demanding justice and working together to identify and report as many people to the FBI that were at the Capitol.

The Instagram page is unapologetically encouraging followers to identify people at the Capitol.

Five people died as a result of the riot, two of them were police officers. The Instagram page, run anonymously, is encouraging people to share the photos to their stories to increase the reach. The account might not have any legal power, but it is having some success. There has been more than one person identified through the IG page that has led to people losing jobs and being arrested by the FBI.

The account has disappeared multiple times but always comes back.

The mystery person running the account has expressed concern over their safety. The account has been suspended by Instagram after being reported by multiple people. There has even been some talk about them receiving threats of violence via DMs.

The person who runs the account has mentioned it randomly on their stories but with no real detail. According to recent stories, the person behind the account doesn’t want to antagonize the people sending threats.

The owner of the account did say that they have been contacted by Instagram about the account.

A tweet from HomeGrownTerrorists caught Instagram’s attention and the account was reinstated. However, there was a backup account to keep functioning in case the original got deleted. IG and the account owner reached an agreement where they get to keep the main account and the backup account was permanently banned. No questions asked.

If you want to help or be connected to the cause, you can follow this page on Instagram.

There are a lot of people left to identify and the nation’s law enforcement is bracing for more violence. Capitols in all 50 states are on alert for possible attacks and the National Guard is being mobilized in big numbers for the inauguration. We are not out of the woods when it comes to the threats that have been made.

READ: After Last Week’s Riots, A Black Woman Has Been Appointed to U.S. Capitol Police Chief

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

UPS Delivery Man Is Fired After Video Surfaces of His Anti-Latino Racist Rant

Things That Matter

UPS Delivery Man Is Fired After Video Surfaces of His Anti-Latino Racist Rant

Photo courtesy Forward Latino

An unnamed UPS delivery driver has been fired after being caught using racist language when delivering a package to a Latino household. The incident occurred on December 17th.

The video, which was caught on a doorbell camera’s security footage, shows a white UPS driver appearing to be angry when delivering a package.

“Now you don’t get f—–g nothing…You can’t read and write and speak the f—–g English language,” he says while writing a “failed to deliver” notice and pasting it on the house’s front door.

The Aviles family says that the footage shows that the UPS worker never even attempted to deliver the package in the first place. He never rang the doorbell or knocked on the door. Based on that, the family has come to the conclusion that the driver intentionally withheld the package from the family out of prejudice and spite

They believe that the only way the driver could’ve known that the family was Latino was by making assumptions based off the name on the package.

“The only information this driver had that could serve as a trigger for this deep-seated hate was the name on the package,” said Forward Latino President Darryl Morin at a press conference addressing the incident.

“So what we have here is a very intentional act to ruin Christmas for somebody, for someone to spew this hateful rhetoric, and quite honestly to deceive their employer,” Morin continued.

Per UPS, the employee has now been fired. “There is no place in any community for racism, bigotry or hate. This is very serious and we promptly took action, terminating the driver’s employment. UPS is wholeheartedly committed to diversity, equity and inclusion,” UPS said in a statement. They also said they contacted the family to apologize.

But the Aviles family is still rattled that such bigoted people are out and about, letting their petty prejudices effect other people’s lives.

“The package was a Christmas gift that we eventually received after Christmas Day, but what if it happened to have time-sensitive content like an epipen or a book I needed to take a final,” said Shirley Aviles, the mother of the man who lives at the address, told NBC News. “I don’t get it. It’s just sad.”

Aviles seemed disturbed about what this incident says about human nature. “This is about the things people do when they think no one is watching them. That’s important because that’s when you see people’s true colors and that’s what’s scary,”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com