Tamalitos is the Peruvian form of the famous Tamales. Both tamalitos and tamales are similar in appearance and prepared in the same manner. The only difference being that tamalitos does not contain meat in it while a tamale does. Tamalitos are also generally smaller in size and drier as compared to the normal tamales.
Tamalitos Verdes is widely consumed throughout Peru, and is especially famous in the Northern coast of the country.
History & Cultural Significance
Tamalito is generally considered to be a common dish within the Mestizo people who are successors of the Maya (Yucatec).
Traditionally served as an appetizer or a side dish, tamalitos use fresh corn as their main ingredient. It is recommended that Tamalitos are served with criolla salsa, melted butter, or chicken soup. This pairing makes the dish taste ten times more delicious.
- White corn - 2 lb.
- Cilantro leaves and some sprigs - 2 cups
- Spinach - 1 cup
- Vegetable oil - 1½ cups
- Salt and pepper
- Green corn husks
- Salsa criolla
- Take a grain grinder or a food processor and add cilantro, corn, and spinach in it. Mix well until it starts to look like a cooked oatmeal. Alternatively, you can also consider using a blender but it will make
the mixture too watery which will in turn mess with the final texture of the tamalitos.
- Next, take a bowl and put the processed corn in it. Add a little bit of oil and with the help of a spatula or a wooden spoon, gently start stirring until it becomes a smooth dough. Make sure to also add salt and pepper to the mixture.
- Using a damp kitchen towel, properly clean the husks and begin preparing the tamales. For every one tamale, add 1½ - 2 tablespoons
of corn dough.
- Now, take the cleaned corn husks and wrap it around the corn dough, taking one small portion at a time. Using kitchen twine, tie the husk so the dough placed inside, doesn’t come out. Keep aside.
- Repeat the same procedure, until all of the corn dough is wrapped. Now take a saucepan and place the tamalitos in it. Keep in mind to
cover the saucepan with the remaining husks (if there’s any)or plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Do not take off the husk/ plastic wrap/ aluminum foil until your dish is completely prepared.
- Now, we’ll use the double-boiler method. Take a large saucepan of water and keep it on the stove. Bring it to a boil and on top of this
saucepan, place the saucepan with tamalitos and start steaming them.
- Let it steam for about 45-50 minutes and in between keep checking if there’s a need to add more water.
- Traditionally, after the tamalitos are tied and reserved, the remaining husks are placed beneath a wide saucepan. Then the tamalitos are placed in it and 2 - 3 cups boiling water are added. The dish is cooked for 25 minutes after covering the tamalitos with more husks and bringing the water to a boil.
- Once done, your dish is ready to be served but it is suggested to let the tamalitos cool down for some time so they can easily hold their shape.
- Once cooled, serve it with salsa criolla.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 190Total Fat: 7gSodium: 80mgCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 3g