How To Eat Tamales The Traditional Way

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How To Eat Tamales The Traditional Way

Considered a staple in every Mexican household, tamales have been rapidly growing in popularity worldwide. Tamale’s popularity lies in its delectable taste, variety of flavors, and the option to add hundreds of variations, fillings, toppings, and sides.

Tamales, known as a homemade comfort food and a tasty treat, are sold almost throughout the USA. It can be found anywhere, from roadside food vendors to trucks to local food vendors to even the corner tamales store near you.

Mexican Tamales: An Overview

Among the Mexican food favorites, tamales are a steamed bundle of masa harina (corn-based dough). They are stuffed with flavorful fillings like meats, chili, vegetables, cheese, or fruits, wrapped into corn husks. With their huge variety of flavors, ingredients, and fillings, tamales can be eaten either sweet, salty, or spicy, depending on the eater’s preference.

Tamales are more or less like a burrito, so if you are in a rush, tamales are an excellent instant-meal alternative. Simply open the wrapping (corn husk or banana leaf) and enjoy!

How To Eat Mexican Tamales

This may seem like a silly question, asking yourself, “how do you eat something?” But some traditional foods have a certain way of being enjoyed. While there is no “specific way” to eat a tamale, there certainly are a few ways you can make your tamale eating experience even better.

Eating Tamales On Their Own

Devouring a tamale straight out of the wrapper is delicious in its own way. Go ahead and grab a tamale, peel back the wrapper back (typically a corn husk or plantain leaf), and dive into its savory goodness!

The great thing about tamales is they can be eaten as handheld food, like a bite on a sandwich. Their size and portability make them a perfect grab-and-go meal. Just remember never to eat the wrapper itself!

Pairing Tamales With A Beverage Or Two

For a traditional tamale experience, you can serve it with a warm mug of atole. It is a traditional drink made by simmering ground corn with water and sweet flavorings like chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, and fruit. Atole is relatively quick and easy to prepare and though frequently consumed at breakfast. It can be enjoyed all day long, especially in winters.

If you prefer something a little something “not traditional,” you could also go for an icy cold glass of beer or lemonade.

Eat Sweet Tamales As A Dessert

While most tamales contain spicy, savory fillings, there are also sweet tamales that make an excellent dessert. This is a different take on tamales. They’re not the ordinary kind, made with chicken, pork, or beef, but an alternative of sweet flavorings. Sweet tamales usually offer fillings such as strawberries, bananas, chocolate, raisins, and spices such as cardamom and cinnamon. Top them with some whipped cream or a little pour of honey to satisfy any sweet cravings.

Some examples of sweet tamales may include apple cinnamon, pumpkin, or chocolate tamales.

Eating Tamales With Toppings

Though tamales are a rich, stand-alone meal, that doesn’t mean you can’t add some toppings to them and further enhance their flavor. If you want to spice up your tamale, try a spicy tomato-based sauce or mole. If you’re unfamiliar with mole sauce, it’s made with chocolate, chile peppers, and spices and goes well with almost anything. 

You can also go for a black bean and corn topping or a spicy mango-habanero pepper sauce. If you don’t have any salsa or homemade toppings handy, take a dash of hot sauce and pour it over your tamale to give it a dash of spice.

Try A Sandwich-Styled Tamale

If you’re looking for a somewhat unconventional take on the traditional tamale, take a hot dog bun, and instead of a sausage, stuff the bun with a fresh beef tamale along with a generous amount of chili. Finally, top it with the signature toppings like mustard, onions, tomatoes, pickle, and peppers.

This unconventional take on tamale is sure to keep you full all day long.

Smother Tamales With Chili

Heads up to spice lovers! This one is for you. Place a savory tamale in a bowl and smother homemade chili on your tamale, or serve it on the side. Next, top it with some sour cream, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, sliced avocado, or anything else you enjoy with your chili. And just like that, you’ll have a lovely treat for everyone.

Tamales With Bean And Cheese

For those looking for a meatless tamale, you could always make bean and cheese tamales. You can use any type of beans, from black beans to pinto beans to any other, mixed with queso fresco (white cheese) and roasted poblano peppers.

These go well with a rich serving of sour cream on top and a side of avocado.

Got Any Leftovers?

Have you ever had leftover tamales or ordered frozen tamales but are unsure how to reheat/defrost them? Well, if you do, we have a few tips for you to warm them up without losing that soft, tender texture. 

Below are three common methods to reheat or defrost frozen tamales:

  • Firstly, try steaming your tamales in a pot of boiling water for 15 minutes straight (or a few minutes longer if they’re frozen).
  • The second way involves wrapping your tamales in foil and baking at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until fully heated.
  • If you like to reheat your frozen or cold tamales and give them a crispy exterior coating, just throw them on a hot pan with a little bit of cooking oil. The result should be the tamales looking golden brown with a fried coating.

To Conclude

For people who’ve never had a tamale before, it sure is a flavor-rich treat. With hundreds of variations, fillings, and toppings to choose from, you’ll like a variety of tamales that appeal to you.

Is this your first time eating tamales? If so, now’s your chance to crave your hunger for these Mexican delicacies and order tamales online from retailers like Texas Lone Star Tamales. Order today!