What Do Tamales Taste Like? A Guide to the Mexican Flavors

Tamales are a traditional Mexican dish that can be made with various flavors.

What do tamales taste like? Tamales can be described as being savory, filling, and delicious. They are perfect for a quick snack or a hearty meal.

In this blog post, we will discuss the most popular flavors of tamales and what they taste like. Whether you are looking for a new recipe to try or want to learn more about this delicious dish, keep reading for information on the best tamale flavors!

A Bit About Tamales

tamales and masa dough
Tamales and masa dough. Credit: canva

What is a tamale?

A tamale is a traditional Mexican food consisting of masa or dough made from corn, steamed, or boiled in a leaf wrapper or corn husks for tamales.

The filling can be made with various ingredients, including meat, cheese, vegetables, or fruit.

Tamales are often served with salsa, guacamole, or sour cream.

What is usually in a tamale?

The dough, or masa (corn masa), is made from corn that has been ground into flour. This corn flour is then combined with water and fat to create a dough.

The filling can be made with meat filling, cheese, vegetables, or fruit. The most common type of tamale is the chicken tamale.

Tamales are then steamed or boiled in a leaf wrapper, such as a corn husk or banana leaf.

What makes tamales so special?

Tamales are a special dish because they can be made in various flavors. The tamal dough, or masa, can be flavored with spices, and the filling can be made with any number of ingredients.

Tamales are also unique because they are often served on special occasions, such as holidays or weddings.

Are tamales healthy for you?

Tamales are generally considered to be a healthy dish. The masa is made from corn, a whole grain, and the fillings can be made with meats, vegetables, or fruits.

However, tamales can also be high in fat and calories if made with fatty meats or cheeses.

How do you eat tamale?

To eat a tamale, you will first need to remove the husk or leaf wrappers.

Then, you can either eat the unwrapped tamale as is or eat the tamale with salsa, guacamole, or sour cream.

The most popular flavors are chicken and pork, but tamale filling options and extra ingredients are almost endless.

What Do Tamales Taste Like?

making tamales
Making beef tamales. Credit: canva

What does a tamale taste like?

The authentic flavor of tamales can be described as being savory, filling, and delicious. They are perfect for a quick snack or a hearty meal. Some also have a spicy flavor.

The most popular flavors are chicken and pork, but tamale filling options are almost endless. The flavors and tastes of the tamales vary from region to region.

Types of Tamales and Their Flavors

As we mentioned before, there are many different tamales with various flavors.

Some of the most popular flavors of tamales include:

Chicken Tamales

Chicken tamales are one of the most popular types of tamales.

These tamales are made with shredded chicken, salsa, and spices. The chicken is usually cooked with various spices, including cumin, chili powder, and garlic.

The taste of chicken tamales can be described as being savory, spicy, and flavorful.

Pork Tamales

Pork tamales are another popular flavor.

Pork tamales are made with shredded pork that has been cooked in a sauce made from chili peppers, tomatoes, and spices. The masa is usually flavored with chili powder, cumin, and garlic.

The taste of pork tamales can be described as savory, spicy, and slightly sweet.

Beef Tamales

Beef tamales feature a slightly different flavor than chicken or pork tamales. The beef is often cooked with tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers to create a hearty and filling tamale.

The taste of tamales with meat can be described as savory, filling, and delicious.

Vegetarian Tamales

vegetarian tamales
Vegetarian tamales. Credit: canva

Vegetarian tamales are made with vegetables, such as fresh corn, potatoes, black beans, and refried beans. The masa is typically flavored with chili powder, cumin, and garlic.

The taste of vegetarian tamales can be described as savory, filling, and delicious.

Sweet Tamales or Fruit Tamales

Fruit tamales are a sweet twist on traditional tamales. Sweet tamales are a popular dessert option. The masa is often flavored with cinnamon and sugar, and the filling can be made with fruits like strawberries, apples, or bananas.

The taste of sweet tamales can be described as sweet, flavorful, and delicious.

What sauce do you eat with tamales?

Many different sauces can be eaten with tamales.

The most popular sauces include salsa, guacamole, and sour cream.

Salsa is a sauce made from tomatoes, onions, chili peppers, and spices. The taste of salsa can be described as being spicy, flavorful, and slightly acidic.

Guacamole is a sauce made from avocados, onions, chili peppers, and spices. The taste of guacamole can be described as being creamy, flavorful, and slightly spicy.

Sour cream is a sauce made from milk and cream that has been fermented. The taste of sour cream can be described as being tangy, creamy, and delicious.

How to Make Authentic Mexican Tamales?

steaming tamales
Cooking tamales by steaming them. Credit: canva

If you want to try your hand at making authentic Mexican homemade tamales, here is a recipe for you to try.

Ingredients

  • Masa harina
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Garlic powder
  • Shredded chicken or pork
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Dried corn husks

Instructions

  1. Soak the corn husks. Place corn husks in a bowl of boiling water for 30 minutes or until softened.
  2. To make the masa dough, mix the masa harina with water and salt in a bowl. Stir until the mixture is wet and crumbly. Add more water if needed. Mix in chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder.
  3. Mix shredded chicken or pork with salsa in a bowl to make the filling. You’ll need about 3 1/2 to 4 cups of filling for one batch of tamale dough.
  4. To assemble the tamales, spread some of the masa mixtures onto a corn husk. Add a spoonful of the filling to the center of the masa. Fold up the husk and tie it off with a string.
  5. Repeat until all of the tamales are assembled.
  6. To cook the tamales, steam them in a large pot. Fill the pot with water, ensuring that it does not touch the tamales. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Place the tamales on the steamer rack, and steam them for about an hour.
  7. Remove the tamales from the husks and serve them with guacamole and sour cream.
  8. Enjoy!

How to store and reheat tamales?

Tamales can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Or you can freeze them for later use.

To reheat frozen tamales, place them in a steamer basket over boiling water. Let them sit in the steaming water for 10-15 minutes before serving.

You can also microwave tamales by placing them in a paper bag with a damp cloth inside or on a plate and covering them with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 2-3 minutes per side.

FAQs

What is the taste of tamales?

Tamales can be savory or sweet. The masa is typically flavored with chili powder, cumin, and garlic. The filling can be made with chicken, pork, beef, vegetables, or fruit.

Are you supposed to eat the shell of a tamale?

No, the corn husk is not meant to be eaten. The husks wrap the tamale and keep it together while it cooks. Once the tamale is cooked, the husk should be peeled off and discarded.

What is masa harina?

Masa harina is a type of flour made from ground corn used to make tamales. The flour is mixed with water to create a dough-like mixture used to wrap the tamales.

How do u cook tamales?

Tamales are typically cooked by steaming them in a pot of water. The pot should be covered, and the water brought to a boil. The tamales should be placed in the pot not to touch the water.

The tamales will cook for about an hour. Once cooked, the husks should be peeled off, and the tamales enjoyed.

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