I much preferred the chicken ones. The corn husks were easier to work with than the banana leaves and the filling was far tastier. I think I got a dud batch of guajillo chiles, because the filling was bland. I ended up spicing up the remaining sauce with a couple of chipotles in adobo and that did the trick--wish I had thought of that when filling them. So, were they a ton of work? I don't think so. I spaced out the making of the filling and preparing the wrappers, then was able to wrap and tie about 25 corn and 18 banana tamales in the time it took to watch 1 episode of Mad Men. That Don Draper sure does make time fly. Then I steamed them and gave some away and froze the rest.
That cup in the back is one I got in Queretaro just before I left. It is my Mexican hot chocolate cup (I have many dishes that are only used for one specific food). I tried my hand at atole to accompany the tamales, as it is traditional. Atole is like hot chocolate thickened with corn masa. It's as thick as heavy cream, but made with a mixture of water, milk, masa and Mexican chocolate. I never liked it before, as it has a distinct corny flavour, but I added a dash of almond extract and ended up drinking 2 cups instead of eating the plate you see above. It was astonishingly good. Here's the recipe:
Adapted from Rick Bayless
⅔ cup masa harina mixed with ½ cup warm water
8 ounces chopped Mexican chocolate (Abuelita or Ibarra)
3 cups water
3½ cups milk
1 teaspoon almond extract, optional
- Combine masa, chocolate and 3 cups water in a blender, blend until smooth. Place in a saucepan with the milk and cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until it comes to a simmer. Thin with milk or water if it's too thick. Add almond extract (cinnamon would be good here, or rum).
- Strain into cups, or for frothy atole, strain into the rinsed blender and blend before pouring into mugs.
Thanks so much to Maranda of Jolts & Jollies for such a fun challenge! You can see all the beautiful results on the Daring Kitchen homepage. Click here for the full challenge pdf with recipes, links and photos.
Blog-checking lines: Maranda of Jolts & Jollies was our January 2012 Daring Cooks hostess with the mostess! Maranda challenged us to make traditional Mexican Tamales as our first challenge of the year!