When talking about Mexican cuisine, people automatically think of the beany or beefy burrito and crunchy tacos.
I know, those are one of my favorites!
However, if you would ask me, there is one Mexican dish that I truly believe to be even better than those two— the traditional Tamale!
And for those who are quite unfortunate not to know what this yummy dish is, grab a seat and drool from this culinary lesson!
What are Tamales?
Tamale is a classic dish that is derived from the Mesoamerican cuisine. Although there are several of variations on this dish, the usual recipe is made from dough that is steamed inside a banana leaf or corn husk, giving the dough a distinctive flavor and delicious banana or corn aroma.
Tamales Through Time and Cultures
Tamales originated thousands of years ago where the first reference to it was from 100AD Guatemala. Tamales were also used by the Mayas and Aztecs as a means of taking food with them on their long journeys.
Tamale gradually evolved over the years. In Mexico, the dough is filled with lard and sweet and savory chicken or pork fillings. Mexicans take their tamale seriously and making them is almost like a ritual to them. This savory dish also plays an essential role in some of Mexican fiestas and festivals.
In Spain, on the other hand, tamales are filled with tomato sauce which they like to call a “green corn tamale”. Meanwhile, in Tobago and Trinidad, their tamale is known as “pastille”, filled with raisins, meat fillings and other seasoning which is one of their popular Christmas food. And in Asia, tamales comes with seafood, meat or even coconut milk fillings!
Re-Heating Tamales Like a Pro: 5 Easy Methods to Choose From
So, as you can see, the tamale is a very well-traveled dish which crosses various cultures and very popular.
And today, I wish to help those of you who love snacking on tamale (me too, of course). Maybe because of your love for tamales, you cooked too much than you and your family can eat and have a bunch of leftovers.
Well, there is no question of what to do to them the next day— you just reheat them. I mean, there is nothing sadder than wasted tamales, right?
Heating tamales, however, is no easy task!
Well, if you are not careful, those precious, yummy tamales may end up starchy and dry, and unappetizing, and unappealing, and unsavory… (Should I continue?)
But, today is your lucky day! Being the tamale lover I am, I shall teach you how to re-heat those wonderful leftover tamales, so you can enjoy them the second time around!
Get your fiesta face and Mexican hats ready, ‘cause here are 5 best methods to reheat tamales like a pro!
1. Steaming Hot!
If you want your tamale moist, then steaming them is the best way to go. Use this method if you have all the time to cook, but business calls and kids kept you busy to watch it heat.
2. Your Oven is Your Best Bud
The almighty oven is probably the best way to heat your tamales perfectly. Although it may take a bit longer than the other methods, the wait is well worth it— evenly re-heating and bringing out the tamale’s heavenly flavor like newly cooked!
3. Get the Crunch with a Pan
Using the pan and the stove will give you that desirable crisp and crunch in every bite!
4. Pull-Out the Deep Fryer
If you wish for the crispiest tamales, then the deep fryer is your option. However, know that it also comes with additional calories and fat, due to it being fully submerged in oil. You can try this method to give you the crunchiest tamales everand do not mind the extra calories that come with it.
5. Zap in the Microwave
If you feel a bit lazy and want some tamales without doing too much, then there is always the microwave. Re-heating tamales in the microwave are the quickest and easiest option, perfect when you have no time or just feeling sluggish.
Pro Tip: When heating tamales using the microwave, do not heat for more than 2 at a tie.
Freezing and Saving Leftover Tamales
You put a lot of effort and made too much. Now, you have some leftovers. Or maybe you want to save a stash for tomorrow or this weekend. So, you will need to properly store and freeze those yummy tamales. How?
A properly packaged tamale can stay in your freezer for at least 6 months. However, if your tamales come with beef, pork, or chicken, then you might want to eat them, between 2 and 6 months later, but no later than that!
There is absolutely nothing like them— with their perfect combination of rich, spicy, savory fillings and delicate, slightly sweet banana or corn dough. They are a delicious treat wither in winter as hot comfort food or during summer with a cookout!
And whether you froze leftover homemade tamales or brought prepared frozen tamales, you got a variety of option in re-heating them and bringing back their deliciousness.
So, what are you waiting for? Take those tamales out of the fridge and get ready to hold a Mexican-themed snack party today!
Got any questions? Suggestions? Feel free to share your insights and fire up the comment section below!
Until then, have a lot of tamale fun!