Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Hot Tamales in Costa Rica!

Without question, Tamales are the traditional go-to meal to celebrate December holidays with family and friends in Costa Rica. In fact, although you'll find tamales throughout Latin America, the ticos in Costa Rica only make them in the month of December. Our dear friend, Leo Chaves from Costa Rica Sun Tours, say that some ticos (like his grandpa) are so loco for tamales that this is nearly the only food they'll eat for the month! Breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

Traditionally, the whole family takes part in preparing and cooking the tamales....always making extra to share when visiting with family and friends, to give as gifts, and to bring to seasonal parties and social events.

They'll often feature seasoned meat but some prefer bean or cheese tamales instead. In addition, you'll need potatoes or rice, vegetables, cornmeal, and banana leaves....and 1 to 3 days! Of course, no tamale would be complete without some salsa lizano or chile picante to serve alongside! A few other tips: they taste better if cooked over firewood and serve them with piping hot Costa Rican coffee. Ready to take them on?

Start with a specially prepared corn meal paste, green beans, red sweet peppers, culantro, corn meal paste colored with tomato and achiote, flavored rice, sliced carrots, pork, green peas, potatoes, and…
fire-hardened banana leaves.

Next, spread the corn meal onto the banana leaf.

Spread the orange-colored paste (a blend of corn flour meal, tomato and achiote) over the corn flour meal paste base.

Begin adding the other ingredients: rice, peas…sweet peppers, carrot slices and finally add the remaining ingredients: potatoes, pork and a garnish of cilantro.

Next wrap it all up tightly into a neat bundle in the banana leaves and tie the bundle securely with string.

Finally, simmer the tamales in boiling water until they are thoroughly hot and the flavors are blended together (1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours).  Alongside heat a kettle of water for the coffee.

Now your tamales are ready! With a cup of hot coffee, and a bottle of the very traditional Lizano sauce to add extra zest to your tamales, you are ready for your guests and a delicious meal!

Buen Provecho!

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