The December Tamal challenge… how many can you name?

Some of us with Latin American roots already started the annual season of tamales by having more than one tamal on Thanksgiving or made turkey tamales from leftovers… which got me thinking… Every year my Mexican belly gobbles up tamales de frijol (of beans), pollo en salsa verde (chicken in green sauce), puerco (pork), res (beef), chopes (sweet coconut & pineapple ones that my mom loved as a child and still makes for us), rajas de chile (poblano pepper slices), etc., etc. I’ve had them Northern Mexican style, Oaxacan Mexican style, Colombian style, Peruvian and so on.

So what if we decided to actually dedicate the whole month to trying out a new tamal flavor each day? As long as we don’t have to shell out the Williams-Sonoma price ($54 for 3 dozen), I would sooooo do it. Except, it is not on my paleo plan :P.

december tamal challenge

Oh, and by the way, tamal is one single corn dough like tube or square filled with yummy anything and wrapped in a corn husk or banana leaf or other natural wrap depending on the region. Tamales is the plural. Tamale is a word that seems to only exist in the U.S. which is gaining acceptance but is still not the singular of tamales.

So how many different styles and fillings of tamales can you name?

MASECA te paga la cuenta contest

¿Me echaron de menos? (Did you miss me?) I took a little weekend break – went to the Urban Festival in North Laredo and worked the rest of the time. If I get a chance, I will post some pictures (of the Urban Fest, not of me working).

Guess what readers in Dallas and Houston (and those Laredoans planning to travel soon)?!?  MASECA® (or if you prefer the URL: has a great new contest taking place in the following stores, a ver quien se anima:

Many of you out there know I am not a practiced chef (I pretty much burn everything) so I asked readers from different accounts, what do they make with Maseca®? Check out the variety!

  • Arepas – Tati F, Martha YS
  • Atoles (aside from champurrado) – Zamorinas Payasitas
  • Baby Bird Food (maseca with a bit of water) – Félix P
  • Camarones Empanizados con Maseca® – Alvaro L
  • Champurrado – Martha YS, Alvaro L, Teri F, Julissa G
  • Chuchitos – Julissa G
  • Corn Bread – Martha YS
  • Empanadas – Martha YS, Julissa G
  • Empanadas Fritas – Margaret F
  • Engrudo (not a food, but glue) – Jorge S & ME!
  • Fluffy Tacos – Martha YS
  • Galletas “Corikos” – Alvaro L
  • Gorditas – Gladys V, Martha YS, Margaret F, Alvaro L, Lupita G, Julissa G
  • Huaraches – Tati F, Alvaro L, Julissa G
  • Kekas – Tati F
  • Maseca® Muffins de Piña – Alvaro L
  • Mexican Waffles – Martha YS
  • Nachos (deep-fried with masa cruda) – Félix P
  • Pachucos (tiny empanadas) – Gladys V, Julissa G, Nelly V
  • Panuchos – Alvaro L
  • Pastelitos Salvadoreños – Tati F
  • Pellizcadas (with butter!) – Gladys V
  • Pupusas – Tati F, Meghan S, Julissa G, Martha YS
  • Puffy Tacos – Alvaro L
  • Puffy Panchos – Alvaro L
  • Quesadillas – Gladys V, Alvaro L (with flor de calabaza!), Julissa G, Zamorinas Payasitas, Félix P
  • Salbutes – Alvaro L
  • Sopes – Gladys V, Alvaro L, Julissa G, Clariza FV, Olga AD
  • Tamales de 40 sabores y religiones (ha!) – Tati F
  • Tamales – Martha YS, Margaret F, Alvaro L, Lupita G, Joseph LH, Clariza FV, Olga AD
  • Tlacoyos – Julissa G, Jorge S
  • Tortillas – Gladys V, Margaret Flores, Joseph LH, Clariza FV, Zamorinas Payasitas, Félix P, Olga HL, Olga AD
  • Tortillitas de Manteca – Rosie CA
  • Wow! ¡¿Quien sabia?! A big thank you to all of you who responded within 10 minutes & for Margaret who even wrote in from Japan stating “We live in Japan & don’t have access to fresh corn masa.” Laredoans get creative with Maseca® no matter where in the world they are.

    Now if only I could convince a few of you to prepare a few of these for me… kidding, kidding. So what is this contest about? Well, Maseca® is going to surprise a shopper at the above named stores:

  • If you have a Maseca product in your cart while you are in the process of checking out and the Maseca team identifies you as a winner, Maseca will pay your entire grocery store bill.
  • Once the winner has been selected, the Maseca team will begin the festivities and gather all those that are present.
  • After the crowd gathers, the Maseca team will pay for ALL of the products that the winner has in their cart.
  • The Maseca team will take photos and videos with the winners, which will be made public on the website and social media sites.
  • Check out the official flyer:

    This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. This specific blog post is a sponsored paid post by Maseca® but composed how I wanted with the help of the readers listed above. Hope you liked it!

    No iguana for dinner

    Dang it!! There goes my chance of selling my iguana tamales to Williams-Sonoma. This delicacy could have brought in way more than the $55 a dozen they usually get after the lady across the streets sells them to me at $5 a dozen.

    I am kidding, of course. I have no idea what the contraband of iguana meat mixed with masa is good for – it just sounded, tamalish.

    Check out the press release from Customs & Border Protection:

    CBP Agriculture Specialists Seize Nearly 58 Pounds of Iguana Meat
    Mixed with Masa at Laredo Port of Entry

    LAREDO, TEXAS – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at the Laredo Port of Entry this weekend discovered ingredients for some rather exotic tamales; nearly 58 pounds of undeclared iguana meat hidden in masa (corn dough).

    The seizure occurred on Feb. 27, 2011 as CBP agriculture specialists at Lincoln-Juarez International Bridge examined luggage from northbound bus passengers. A CBP agriculture specialist noted anomalies in two ice chests belonging to a 49-year-old female Mexican citizen passenger from Altamirano, Guerrero, Mexico. Upon further examination of the ice chests, CBP agriculture specialists discovered nearly 58 pounds of alleged iguana meat that was not declared and had been mixed together with masa (corn dough). The iguana meat has an estimated domestic value of $1,560. CBP agriculture specialists seized the meat for alleged violations of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Lacey Act. CITES requires an export permit from a member country (in this case, Mexico) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requires an import permit as well.

    CBP officers processed the bus passenger for return to Mexico and the case was turned over to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agents for further investigation.

    “This is a substantial amount of iguana meat, well beyond what would be considered as personal use, it lacked the necessary permits for lawful importation and further it was found hidden in masa,” said Joe Uribe, Acting CBP Port Director, Laredo. “This seizure illustrates the hard work of our CBP agriculture specialists and the diversity of laws that CBP enforces on behalf of other federal agencies.”

    Tamalada Border Patrol style

    Not in celebration of la Virgen de Guadalupe or Christmas, but Chief Patrol Agent Robert Harris of the Laredo Border Patrol hosted a TAMALADA which is a Mexican tradition during the holiday season! How very cool and not expected of Border Patrol. I think the agency might be getting hip as it continues to grow… or maybe not. It does make for good public relations, though.

    Unfortunately, this invitation created a conflict in my household with the definition of what is a tamalada. In my understanding, it is a big tamal-making gathering where you all pitch in to do your part for the big feast. My partner on the other hand said “You are crazy, it is a party to go eat tamales.” He told me to go tell BP Chief Harris to start preparing to embarrar hojas (the part of the preparation where you put the corn meal mix on the corn husk) to which, I had no response other than that a traditional tamalada is to make tamales. I still think I am right. It doesn’t matter because local bloggers were not invited 🙁 – or maybe they were but I wasn’t, ha!

    The invitation sent to many local leaders in Laredo for the annual Tamalada at Border Patrol offices

    Check out some footage of the Border Patrol Tamalada on Univision