When we were kids, my parents would take us to visit cousins in Richmond, California. The two things I remembered about these visits were the mosquitoes and the tamales. The mosquitoes were enormous, science fiction mutants and after an hour of running around in the garden, our bodies were streaked with blood from their bites.
The tamales were rich, thick and spicy with a tomatoey pork sauce and just enough of the masa harina corn to hold the filling. They were hand made by a neighborhood “Mamacita”, loaded into a hand truck with steamer and sold from door to door. What a difference between these authentic tamales and the ones you are served in restaurants today with a thick tube of corn and a slick of meat sauce! Bleah! I never order tamales at restaurants. That said, I totally failed at making the tamale filling! From the beginning, I didn’t intend to make wrapped tamales (no masa harina here and corn husks), but just to duplicate the texture and flavor of the filling. Didn’t do it. I made a good tasting, Mexican inspired filling but it wasn’t a tamale filling 😦
I couldn’t find dried chillies anywhere in town and this might have been part of the reason for my unsuccessful recipe. Instead I used a chili paste from Tunisia, an harissa.
To add insult to injury, I hated the pictures I took. The one above looks like something from My Dad’s Lunch. Maybe a sailboat in a sea of pork 😀
Anyway, no recipe. So why am posting? For the sheer delight of saying, so what 🙂