News | Economy | Culture | Opinion | Lifestyle | Nature
Noticias | Opiniones | Archive | Unclassified Ads | Home

Volume 15, Number 18
December 4, 2009

lifestyle

Also in this section:
Places to visit in Panama: Metropolitan Natural Park
Holiday food: Panamanian tamales
Voting gets easier for US citizens living here
The Bomberos' Torchlight Parade
Abandoned kitten looking for a permanent home
Some Antillean architectural details
Up and coming prizefighters at the Gimnasio Roberto Duran
Thanksgiving in a flood-stricken Embera village

Panamanian Tamales
a national holiday tradition

Ingredients :

  • 3 pounds cracked corn

  • 2 pounds pork tenderloin

  • 1/2 stick butter

  • 1 cup onions, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon achiote

  • 1/2 cup green peppers

  • 1 small package tomato paste

  • 3 leaves culantro, shredded

  • 1 teaspoon oregano flakes

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1/2 cup capers

  • 3/4 cup Spanish olives, sliced

  • 1/2 cup pitted dried prunes, chopped roughly

  • 3 fresh tomatoes

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • Bijao leaves (or banana or plantain leaves if you can't get these)

  • String

Directions :

  • Wash the bijao (false bird of paradise, also known as "platanillo" or Heliconia bihai L.) leaves --- you can use banana or plantain leaves if these are unavailable, but bijao imparts a particular taste you want --- and boil them for 20 minutes, then drain them and let them dry on some paper towels

  • Boil corn until soft

  • Grind boiled corn into mush (masa)

  • Roast the pork until it's done, then cut it up into chunks

  • Brown the pork chunks in butter

  • Remove the pork, retaining the pan and the residue from frying

  • Add the onion, pepper, tomato, culantro, oregano and tomato paste to the pan you just used to cook the pork, saute until the onions are clear

  • Add 3 cups of water and simmer into a chunky sauce

  • Separate the chunks from the liquid in the sauce

  • Stir the liquid that you have separated from the sauce into the masa, plus the capers, olives and prunes, mixing it all completely so as to give the masa a texture kind of like mashed potatoes (add a little more water if you have to)

  • Take a piece of leaf, spoon some masa into the middle, shape it to make an impression in the middle

  • Put some of the solids from the sauce and some of the pork into this impression

  • Cover with another spoonful of masa and pinch it down to enclose the meat and veggies in the middle

  • Add another spoonful of masa and fold the leaf around it

  • Tie the leaf up with string

  • Get large pot of water salted to a rapid boil

  • Add the tamales and boil for about a half hour

  • Serve hot (once cooked they may be refrigerated or frozen and reheated, if you must)

There are almost infinite variations on this, maybe the most common of which is to use chicken instead of pork. I have seen the prunes omitted, or replaced with raisins or currants. It's pretty common to put the drippings from roasting the pork (or chicken) in with the boiled corn when you are grinding it into masa. And so on....

Also in this section:
Places to visit in Panama: Metropolitan Natural Park
Holiday food: Panamanian tamales
Voting gets easier for US citizens living here
The Bomberos' Torchlight Parade
Abandoned kitten looking for a permanent home
Some Antillean architectural details
Up and coming prizefighters at the Gimnasio Roberto Duran
Thanksgiving in a flood-stricken Embera village

News | Economy | Culture | Opinion | Lifestyle | Nature
Noticias | Opiniones | Archive | Unclassified Ads | Home
 

Tankless Water Heaters --- http://www.eztankless.com/
Panama Hotel: Luxury apartment rentals in Casco Viejo, Panama City
Panama Real Estate: Original travel and investment articles on The Panama Report
Make the Executive Hotel your headquarters in Panama City
Find the boat of your dreams through Evermarine

© 2009 by Eric Jackson
All Rights Reserved - Todos Derechos Reservados
Individual contributors retain the rights to their articles or photos

email: editor@thepanamanews.com or

e_l_jackson_malo@yahoo.com

phone: (507) 6-632-6343

Mailing address:
Eric Jackson
att'n The Panama News
Apartado 0831-00927 Estafeta Paitilla
Panamá, República de Panamá