Thursday, March 17, 2011


My friend Sylvia is the tamale queen. (She's also Chinese, like me. I have always thought ...all through college that there was a little latina inside me - maybe it's true for all us Asian chics?) She gave tamales as Christmas gifts back in 2008. I have not forgotten the taste. I have since tried to find tamales as good as hers, and failed miserably.

So, she taught me how to make them. The key is the masa.

In Newark, CA there's the Mexican Tortilla Factory that grinds fresh masa daily. The masa Sylvia uses is the red masa. Red masa rules. I don't know what's in it, but all sorts of magical goodness, because it is tasty. If you go, you can also get some delicious, made to order Mexican food, in addition to browsing all the Mexican grocery items to your heart's content. I'm starting to get hungry just typing this paragraph.

Since I was in the Bay Area two weekends ago, I loaded up on 20lbs of masa, two bags of corn husks, and two bags of California Chile Pods.

Sylvia was in charge of the tasty, tasty pork. She slow-cooked it with salt, pepper, cumin, garlic and a can of beer.

Then there's the chile pod sauce. You bring water to a boil w/the chile pods and garlic, then simmer for an hour to soften it all up. Blend and mix with the meat. That color of red is so lovely.

Soak the corn husks to make them pliable for tamale folding.

Hello delicious masa... I love you.

The meat is so good, my girls and I would pick at it and gobble it up.

Pretty. So pretty. Get in my belly.

Then steam, pour Cholula over it, add some guac and inhale.

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