Like I mentioned before , in Mexico there are many kinds of tamales. Each state, region and even towns have their own version of tamales. They are all made with the same basic ingredients, ground corn and lard. Some are stuffed and some are not. Some are wrapped in corn husks and some in banana leaves or other kinds of leaves. Here in Mexico City the most popular tamales are the ones wrapped in corn husks and we call Oaxaca tamales those wrapped in banana leaves, although not only in Oaxaca they make them that way. They are usually moister than the corn husk tamales. That’s because they are prepared with broth, chicken or pork. For my tamalada I made two kinds of banana leaf tamales, picadillo and mushrooms in green sauce, that everybody loved. Here are the recipes for the masa and the two fillings I used for them:
Banana leaf tamales masa Makes about 20-25 tamales
250 gr (1/2 lb) mushrooms, sliced. I used the ones known as setas here in Mexico.
Salt to taste
Chicken broth if necessary
Picadillo filling for the chard and banana leaves tamales
20 chard leaves
500 gr (1 lb) ground beef
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots and 1 small potato, cooked and in small cubes
100 gr (3.5 oz) peas, cooked
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
How to prepare banana leaves:
Before using banana leaves they have to be cooked. This is done by passing them very quickly over an open flame until they change color from bright green to a paler one. Be careful not to burn them because they will crack and won’t be useful anymore. Cut them with scissors to form rectangles of about 10″x8″.
Note: Tortilla masa is easily available in Mexico at tortillerias or corn mills. However, in the States you can find dry corn masa for tortillas at the grocery store. Just follow the instructions on the package to rehydrate it and obtain the amount necessary for this recipe.