One of the most traditional dishes in Oaxaca is the Tamales. The word tamal comes from the Nahuatl language Tamalli which means wrapped. This wrapped food, commonly on sale by women at corners of any city or town, is mainly a pastry made of corn and added with Mole and meat, usually chicken. Tamales are cook by steam, known in Mexico as "Baño Maria".

In Oaxaca tamales are wrapped in banana or corn leaves. Tamales are a little greasy but, delicious. The pastry of corn is added with lard. In a kilo of pastry, there is added a quarter of lard. The pastry is added with salt and with chicken broth. Everything is knead until it becomes a soft pastry.
The Mole sauce has to be prepared apart, in order to get a good flavour, it has to contain chicken broth. The chicken meat, without bones, will be the main flavour in the tamales.

The banana leaves are boiled and then cleaned off of the thicker fibers. Then, they are cut in squares. The pastry is spread on the leaves, then the chicken meat is put on the pastry and after that the Mole sauce. The leaves are folded and tied with the strings of the fiber of banana leaves and everything is cook by the steam.

There are many flavours such as black Mole, beans, chepil which is an herb, Rajas de chile or chili slices added with cheese and meat. Tamales of beans and chili slices are wrapped in corn leaves.

Women spend the whole day to make up to 100 tamales, each one costs about 8 pesos.

The visitor could find this pre-Hispanic dish in markets, restaurants, streets and tamalerías, "tamal stores", in almost all the state. If you like to try tamales, their sweet and spicy flavour will be celebrated by your taste. If you have visited Oaxaca and you did not try tamales is as if you were not here.

Travel Guide Exploring Oaxaca

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