Tamales are a dish normally made from a corn based dough (masa), which is then rolled in some type of wrapper and steamed until ready. The wrapper is only to hold the shape of the dish and impart a small amount of flavor, but it is usually discarded before consumption. Most tamales are also filled, with the ingredients depending on the culture from which the tamale is originating.
Mexican tamales are prepared using dough made from hominy and lard and wrapped in cornhusks. The most common fillings are chicken or pork and are accompanied with hot sauce. The tamales in Mexico can be eaten anytime throughout the day, as this dish is perfect as breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Where to try them in Miami: Mi Rinconcito Mexicano. 1961 SW 8th St Miami, FL 33135. (305) 644-4015
South and Central American Tamales
In South and Central America, you can find tamales wrapped in plantain leaves. They are usually bigger in size to their Mexican relatives are contain a much more varied filling. In Colombia, fillings include various meats (chicken, beef, pork), potato, peas, carrots, and even rice. The dough is also softer and wetter and is typically eaten for breakfast with an accompaniment of hot chocolate.
Where to try them in Miami: Mondongo’s. 3500 NW 87th Ave Doral, FL 33172. (305) 718-4977
Cuban tamales are extremely similar to Mexican tamales, since they are made using hominy, are stuffed with pork or chicken, and are wrapped in corn husk. The main difference between Cuban and Mexican tamales are the seasonings used in the meat; besides that, these two variations can even be considered twins.
Where to try them in Miami: Luis Galindo’s Latin America. 898 SW 57th Ave Miami, FL 33144. (305) 267-9995