One thing that makes Costa Ricans truly happy and they spend a lot of family time doing is making Tamales. This is a very foreign thing to most North Americans and Europeans. You might have heard of the Looney Tunes version of Hot Tamales but actually having them and experiencing the tradition in real life if something definitely worth finding out.
Now there are many different types of Tamales from Meat to Vegetarian, to Dessert Tamales. Traditionally Ticos will put meat in there Tamales the most common being Pork or Chicken. It isn’t unheard of to put beef or fish as well. Generally, the whole family is apart of this tradition from preparing the ingredients to wrapping them in plantain leaves and then boiling them in a massive pot. On average a family will make about 100 Tamales, and the fridge will be stocked for weeks. This is a great practice because you will be able to feed every one visiting your home easily, cooking dinner can be as simple as boiling a few Tamales. Now Costa Ricans will eat this for breakfast lunch and dinner literally.
We have included a well-proven recipe so you can try at home, it is definitely worthwhile watching some videos on prepping the ingredients and what is the best way of wrapping the Tamales so they cook properly.
Meat and stock
Two whole chickens, cut into pieces
Three bunches celery, cut in large chunks
Two red bell peppers, cut in chunks
Two onions, cut in slices
Two carrots, cut in large pieces
One bunch of cilantro
One bunch of parsley
Fresh oregano and thyme
Salt, pepper, Worchester sauce, annatto paste
One garlic head
Six cups ground corn masa
Six cups mashed potatoes
250 grams base of ground pork rind
One quarter cups pork lard
Sixteen cups stock from the meat
Salt and pepper
Three – Four Tbsp complete seasoning
Powdered hot chili pepper (optional)
One tsp garlic powder
So why not try this at home, you most certainly do not have to make over a hundred Tamales but try your had at just a few and see how great they can taste. The best way to taste this delicacy is to actually visit Costa Rica During the holiday season and try some at a restaurant or from a Costa Rican home. From the Central Valley all the way to Manuel Antonio to Limon you will find Tamales all over Costa Rica. You will get to experience Costa Rica first hand and see what all the fuss is about.
When will you be visiting Costa Rica?