Tamales are a well-known on loved food all the year around. In Mexico and other Latin countries tamales are also a holiday food especially during the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. Because they are steamed in a pot they can warm up the entire house on those cold December days around the holidays. Traditional pork and beef tamales are by far the favorites but there are many different flavors and styles enjoyed in other countries and around the world.
For example, in Guatemala there is the “tamale negro” or black tamale that is usually made only for special occasions and Christmas, of course. The black tamale gets its name from the chocolate-based sauce and comes with raisins, dried plums and nuts. It is sweet and some may think of them as more of a desert but they are served as a main course.
As mentioned before tamales can come in sweet as well as spicy varieties depending on your taste. There is sweet corn as well as spicy corn tamales and some corn tamales come with cheese inside.
For the more traditional minded tamales can be made from virtually any kind of meat and spiciness. Chicken, beef and pork being the most popular of the traditional varieties although there are some with fish or other seafood inside.
Because of the basic way that tamales are made, one can be creative with the ingrediency whether meat, vegetable, sweet or spicy. The tamale is of course the main dish but the nice thing about tamales is that they can be enjoyed with almost any side dish or dishes. Beans and rice might be the way most people are used to having tamales with but it is only up to the host to decide what they can be served with on any particular day.
So, this holiday season be creative and try something new with your tamales. Or you can just have them the old-fashioned way which is always good too.