The Tamalada is on! Over at my local Big Saver the after work/pre-tamalada crowds were doing the rounds: picking through the tomatillos, looking for the biggest bag of hojas with nicely shaped husks, contemplating investing in one of those large steamers with the false bottom (at $15 they are worth every penny), making the tough decision of going with the cheaper and milder California chiles or going for broke with the Guajillos. And if you make the queso con rajas tamales then you also have to think about the price range of your cheese, be it the classy and expensive Tillamook or the cheapo but affordable no name blocks. (Is it Henry’s? Dave’s?) Right by the entrance turnstile was a huge display of masa preparada, but I’ll pass on that and the lard within. I’m sticking to maseca. One of these years I’m going to find a place that sells masa preparada without the lard, because we really need to know. And I bet the place that starts this novel concept is going to get lots of business. I was hoping to do a post on that topic this year but I guess it will have to wait. If you missed it, or if you’re just a pocho that refuses to make your own, check out my post from last year where I covered a few of the tamales available on the Eastside. Maybe by next year I will once again be unemployed and finally have the time to finish some of these post ideas. One can dream.
Above you see some of my basics, and yes, I do use tofu in my red sauce tamales. Plus I add papas. And green olives. It’s better than it sounds. I also make a standard tamal of pasilla rajas/queso/tomatillo salsa that is basic but satisfying. But this year I’m going to invent something new, something for the Chicano kitchen. The kraft cheeze tamal? Yup, that’s going to be created by me. Hay les digo que tal.
So how do you make yours? May your pot gather steam and your masa set properly. Those are my sincerest wishes to you.