Belizean Tamales is another family tradition meal that is gaining popularity around the world.… It is a process that is time consuming and repetitive but the end results can absolutely blow your taste buds away. Ask Singer Gwen Stefani what’s her favorite tamale? In November 2016, it was reported that Stefani went on Snapchat to rave about the making of tamales by her Belizean Chef. “The snaps reveal a happy Gwen as she sings and sounds excited to try some of Belize’s famous tamales.” Ambergris Today reported. This recipe utilizes the use of banana/plantain leaves combined with some delectable herbs and spices; here we will walk you through a step by step process to make this popular Belizean meal.
You will need:
20 smoked banana leaves, cut in 10-inch squares
4 pounds chicken, cut into serving sizes
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon Season All
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
²⁄₃ cup onion, diced
²⁄₃ cup green bell peppers, deseeded, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1¼ cups cilantro, minced
¼ cup vegetable oil, for browning chicken
1½ cups warm water
¼ cup red recado paste, diluted in water
Potatoes, peeled, par boiled, diced, optional
Green peas, optional
Clean both sides of banana leaves with a damp cloth. Set aside. Season chicken pieces with salt, Season All, black pepper and sugar. Heat oil in a deep saucepot. Add chicken and cook until light brown. Add 1½ cups water. Dilute recado in approximately ⅓ cup warm water and add to chicken. Let simmer for half an hour, then remove chicken and set aside. Strain chicken broth for col and return to saucepot, reducing to a low heat.
INGREDIENTS FOR COL
¾ pound corn masa
²⁄₃ cup water
2 teaspoons salt
Mix masa, water and salt until well blended. Add the masa mixture to broth and stir until thickened. Add water if mixture is too thick. Remove from heat and set aside. Mixture should have the consistency of thick cream.
Ingredients for Tamale Dough
2⅓ pounds masa
4 teaspoons salt
1¼ cups water
1 cup vegetable oil
Mix masa, salt, water and vegetable oil until well blended. Mixture will be like a soft custard.
On a flat surface place a banana leaf on a larger square of foil. Place ⅓ cup masa mixture in middle of leaf and spread into a 5-inch circle. Top with ⅓ cup col, a piece of chicken and a slice of tomato. Potatoes, olives or green peas are optional. Bring opposite sides of the banana leaf and foil together and fold down tightly. Carefully fold each side over tightly to contain the filling. Line the bottom of a large saucepot with banana leaves. Arrange the wrapped tamales on a slant to avoid water getting into it. You may place as many tamales as you can in the saucepot. Add 4 inches of water and steam for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check periodically to make sure there is always an inch of water in the pot. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving. For added spice, sprinkle a few drops of Hot Mama’s Mild/Hot/Fiery sauce… MMMM GOOD!
This recipe makes 16 to 20 tamales! Enjoy 🙂