Goya seasonings for anything but a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. When I want a real tamale like we made in Viento Frio, Panam?, I turn to Goya
I love great tamales and was raised on good Mexican style tamales wrapped in a corn husks.
But until I spent fourteen years in Viento Frio Rep?blic? d? Panam?, I hadn't realized what the best tamale tasted like or had lurking with it's vast 1 ?" x 3" x 7"-9" Masa form.
Tamales in Panam? are eaten for any meal anytime of the year. I've paid from $0.50-$2.00 US dollar for one. Sunday afternoon was a good time to find a mother or a couple of kids carrying a 5 gallon bucket on their heads with a bath towel rolled like a cinnamon roll to center the load on anyones head. They were usually selling them to have the money for one other more kids to travel to a larger community for the school week, live with another family and return Friday evening after school.
A typical tamale would have a chicken wing or, leg with the foot minus the toe nails, a long string bean, a few green olives with pimento, a tablespoon of whole kernel corn, maybe some shreds of purple or green cabbage, slices or lengths of carrots, onion, garlic and assorted peppers, usually sweet bells in green or colors.
These were seldom spicy hot even though some habanero peppers would find their way into the mixture. A onion pepper salsa was prepared, usually one person working on gathering those items, rinsing and slicing them in preparation for the blender. Another would boil water and cook the chicken then several women would de bone and shred the chicken meat. Another person gathered firewood and it takes a lot of wood as they start them in a 40 gallon cast iron pot sitting on concrete blocks or hanging over the fire about 14:00 hrs and they cooked until 06:00 in the morning. Another person was in charge of gathering leaves that would be used to hold the formed shape of the tamales together and keep it nearly sealed during the cooking process. These were similar to a banana or plantain leaf, so if you were making and steaming 100 tamales you needed one leaf for about three tamales and 6 or eight to cover the top of the pot with even though you might have a lid, you wanted a good seal so they steamed good. Oh, string to tie the leaf around the tamale wrapped inside the leaf.
It might take 8 people doing this laborious project and usually all mother's each with children of their own, or an Aunt (Tia) or a grandmother (abuela) donating their time.
After eating my first one on a customized school bus riding from Col?n to Viento Frio, I decided I'd learn how to make my own.
A chicken leg with the foot was not my cup of tea. A nice big half chicken breast divided length wise will make about 8 tamales.
ProsShredded chicken, beef or pork all make excellent tamales.
In Panam? most every El Rey Super Mercado which is one of the largest chain grocery stores. or Mini Super which is a convenience store many times own by either a Chinese family, but not always. is going to stock little packages of Achote that's the orange yellow seasoning that gives the corn meal dough or Masa mixture it's tamale flavor and color.
Besides the Achote you need Culantro which is a long wide leaf, 4"-7" long and ?" -1?" wide, and it looks like a dandelion leaf, when you rub it between your fingers it smells exactly like cilantro, but it's usually much stronger in flavor.
Just a little history from Panam?, the Goya seasoning in Walmart stores in the Tulsa-Owasso, Oklahoma area has 8 individual packets for $1.19 to $1.39 total.
It's concentrated, two packets will season enough food for eight people, one meal. Very economical.
When I made guacamole which many in my village had never heard of, I used one package of Goya seasoning to three large avocados, ? medium sweet onion, juice from ? lime or limon, 2 meduim tomatillos, 1 ?" ring from a large red, yellowor orange sweet bell pepper for color and flavor ?-1 teaspoon of fresh minced garlic, ? teaspoon of fresh minced ginger and 6-8 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and ?-1 teaspoon of Sea Salt. Mix together, cover with plastic wrap with a little more time or limon juice under the plastic and chill, this keeps it fresh and from darkening in color.
A secret for ripening an avocado quicker?
Wrap them in panties and cover in the dark cool room, check them everyday. I learned this from the locals. I don't know what difference it makes panties or kitchen towels but it ripens several days quicker and we ate avocados probably 300-20 days a year in our village.
Tamales are a Christmas and New Year's Tradition.
Bon Appetit | Comer Mi Vida
ConsI can't think of, well maybe one, we need Walmart to stock banana leaves.