Exactly What Is A Tamale?

Tamale Spotting UK

a) the name of Pedro Almodovar's next movie; b) a Mexican Dish; c) a town in India.

Tamale, pronounced tamalli, is b) a Mexican dish.

Not quite a burrito, in no way a fajita, and not even close to being a taco, a tamale is made of corn-based dough (or maize), and can be filled with beef, chicken, pork, chilli, cheese, beans or vegetables. Tamales come wrapped in a leaf paper (green banana, plaintain or corn husk), are held together by a string, and are square in shape, and large (about the size of a man's hand). To serve, just boil, microwave or steam to heat up. Add some salsa, guacamole or hot sauce and enjoy!

Tamales are very delicious. However, tamales are extremely difficult to make from scratch unless you come from Mexico and have spent most of your life in a Mexican kitchen.

Tamales have been a food staple for Mexicans for as long as history has been recorded. When the Spanish conquered Mexico, one of the foods that they relied on was tamales. Tamales have been used by Mexicans as portable food, as the wrapping keeps the tamales fresh. In Mexico, tamales are considered one of the most beloved traditional foods, eaten at both breakfast and dinner.

By now you are asking yourself, “Where can I buy this delicious thing called a tamale”? You might be able to find them in the very small pockets of Latin American cafes near Brixton and Elephant and Castle, though these cafes are very hard to find. A new company, called Rico Mexican Kitchen, has started selling them (along with other Mexican food) to the general public. Rico was started in 2008 by Marcela Newburn and her friend, Ian, while they were in a pub and they realized that not much fresh and authentic Mexican food was available in the UK.

"Because Mexican food is so varied and delicious, and with so many foods unexplored in the UK, I wanted to bring the tastes and recipes from my childhood, which so many people around the world enjoy and love, but currently not available in the UK", Newburn says.

Rico delivers all over the UK through their website and through www.mexgrocer.co.uk. Their tamales and delicious salsas can also be found at Whole Foods Market on High Street Kensington, and in other independent shops and delis around the country.

So now that you know what a tamale is, give one a try. You will love it! And it's perfect for Cinco De Mayo.