Making Tamales With Barrio Cafe's Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza

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Aren't they adorable? I made these tiny tamales myself, and can't wait to gobble them up.
​Last week I met up with three girlfriends for a fabulous early Christmas treat: a tamale-making class at Barrio Cafe.

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Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza is one sassy sensei. I'd happily take another one of her classes again.

Chef-owner Silvana Salcido Esparza led a full house through a step-by-step tutorial on creating these scrumptious, bite-sized versions of the traditional Mexican holiday food, and she was a real hoot -- confident, funny, and full of energy. (Did you know that joint-rolling skills come in handy when making tamales? Good to know!)

This particular event was a special fundraiser for the Calle 16 Mural Project, but I can honestly envision her turning cooking classes into a heck of a side business, because everyone was having a blast -- chatting with each other, getting pointers from Esparza, experimenting with different tamale-wrapping techniques, and swigging delicious margaritas.

Apparently, getting tipsy and gossiping is the most authentic way to make tamales.

 

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Tasty tamale fillings.

 

The tables were set with bowls full of goodies -- gobs of fresh masa, plump shrimp, kicky chile Colorado, green chile pork, chicken in a deep, dark mole sauce, roasted poblanos, corn, olives, red onion, and two kinds of cheese.​

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Trust me, you'll go through a plate of corn husks in no time.

Somewhere around margarita number two, staffers brought out plates of softened corn husks and bright green banana leaves for wrapping the tamales.

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We tore off wide strips of husk, knotted the ends, and split them in half to create ties for the rolled-up treats. Then, we spooned masa onto bigger pieces of husk or leaf, wrapped them into tootsie rolls or pouches or little square packages, and tied them up.

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Tamale-making can be really addicting, especially when you're with friends and you have a cocktail nearby.

It took some of us a little time to get the hang of it, but before long, we were all wrapping tamales like pros. Everyone contributed a few handmade creations to a communal pot of tamales that were steamed while we continued working. Our reward was eating them at the end of the class.

My goodness, were they heavenly -- not only because the fillings were delectable, but because a healthy dose of lard made that masa just melt on my tongue.

Hungry yet? I sure am.

Check back tomorrow for a recipe and tamale-making tips.

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1 comments
Chapko1111
Chapko1111

It was FUN, informative, & delicious.

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