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Tamales For Breakfast

Tamale Traditions

When I was a little girl en mi casa, tamales came around only at Christmas time. I understand why! Making tamales is a project that requires preparation and time. It was an all day affair that required lots of hard work, from sunup to sundown. My ama made enough for her large family for Christmas Eve dinner and for sharing with some of the vecinos. It is in our latina blood to have an open table for serving and sharing. Luego, we still had enough for a delicious breakfast the next day and maybe a quick lunch for a couple of days after. My personal favorite way to eat a leftover tamal was for breakfast. Just because it’s summertime, there’s no reason you can’t have a Christmas in July Tamale breakfast.

A Tamal Breakfast:

My ama would unwrap the tamales, (we usually had green chile chicken tamales) place them in a skillet with a little vegetable oil and let them simmer to warm them and until the masa on the outside was lightly crispy. While they were getting crispy and golden she refried some frijoles, making sure they had plenty of bean broth, so that they wouldn’t dry up. She fried eggs individually for each plate she served along  with a tamal y frijolitos. If you like the yema, some people can’t appreciate the runny egg yolk, you might imagine how much I enjoyed a bite of tamal dipped into the yolk. On this limited edition breakfast, ama didn’t serve tortillas since the tamal served that purpose. Por supuesto that we had our choice of salsa or jalapenos. I usually preferred to bite into a marinated jalapeño with each mouthful. Since it was the day after tamales, or for us, it was Christmas day, we also enjoyed our tamal breakfast with some champurrado. This is a popular holiday hot drink, very cozy in the cold months. The milk based drink is thickened with maiz and flavored with la “Abuelita” chocolate, sugar (or piloncillo, raw sugar cane) and cinnamon sticks. Pienso que this hot July afternoon is getting to me, I’m writing about a hot drink! Pero, I had to present a full tamal breakfast.

If you happen to be one of those people that has a “tamal stock” in your freezer and you haven’t had tamales for breakfast, I highly recommend my amas simple presentation: Fried eggs, crispy tamales and refried beans, salsa or jalapeños on the side and family to chat with. Echale ganas!

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