A tamale or tamal (Spanish: tamal, from Nahuatl: tamalli) is a traditional Latin American dish made of masa (a starchy dough, usually corn-based), which is steamed or boiled in a leafwrapper. The wrapping is discarded before eating. Tamales can be further filled with meats, cheese, vegetables, chilies or any preparation according to taste, and both the filling and the cooking liquid maybe seasoned.
Tamales were one of the staples found by the Spanish Conquistadors when they first arrived in Mexico and were soon widely spread throughout their other colonies. Tamales are said to havebeen as ubiquitous and varied as the sandwich is today
Tamales originated in Mesoamerica as early as 8000 to 5000 BCE. Aztec and Maya civilizations as well as the Olmeca and Tolteca before them usedtamales as a portable food, often to support their armies but also for hunters and travelers. There have also been reports of tamal use in the Inca Empire long before the Spanish visited the newworld.
The diversity of native languages in Mesoamerica led to a number of local words for the tamal, many of which remain in use.
In Mexico, tamales begin with a dough made from nixtamalizedcorn (hominy), called masa, or a masa mix such as Maseca, and are generally wrapped in corn husks or plantain leaves before cooking, depending on the region from which they come. They usually have asweet or savory filling and are typically steamed until firm.
Few countries have such an extensive variety of tamales as Mexico, where they're considered one of the most beloved traditional foods.Almost every region and state in the country has its own kind of tamal. It is said that there are between 500 and 1000 different types of tamales all around the country. Some experts estimate the annualconsumption in hundreds of millions every year.
Tamales are a favorite comfort food in Mexico, eaten as both breakfast and dinner, and often accompanied by hot Atole or Champurrado, maize-based...