How to eat a tamale ( Complete Guide)

Tamale is a traditional Mexican dish. For years the tamale has remained the staple food of the Mexican people. But the evolution in technology and science and the food choices of the people has also evolved. The tamale does not remain the staple but people considered it as a fancy food and prefer it at the events. Many Mexican streets still are embellished with tamale to keep the dish in the trend.

Tamale is a complicated dish to have. And you will find a difference in the view of eating the tamale.

If you are also the one who is curious to know the best method to eat a tamale. Then you are reading the right article.

In this article, we will describe the methods of eating tamale and will also let you know that which of the method is most common and adopted by most people.

How to eat a tamale

Tamale can be served alone as a proper meal and can be served with some side dishes or beverages. Depending upon the way it serves you there are the following methods of eating a tamale.

  1. Tamale served on their own:

This is a full tamale meal. You will be served with tamale only and no other side dishes like rice, sauce, or beverages. You can have an original taste of the traditional tamale in this type of serving.

  • Peel the wrapper: The tamale is wrapped in the corn husk or the palatine leaf. Before getting into the eating process peel the wrapper off and toss it down in the dustbin. Never eat tamale with the wrapper.

The tamale is a handheld food basically. It is meant to be eaten with hands like bagel and sandwiches. This kind of servings is available in the streets of Mexico which are reflecting the proper heritage of the country.

  • Using fork and knife: grab your fork and knife for eating tamale. Eating with the hand is also an option but if you are conscious that your hand will get dirty when you eat with your hand then this eating practice is made for you. Also for giving this to a child, bite-size pieces are preferable.
  • Dress it with some sauce: if you are not a person who is willing to have plan tamale you can add some condiments over the unwrapped tamale.

The most common condiment that people prefer with the tamale is the salsa sauce. The strong tangy tomato taste makes the tamale more attractive and flavorful. You can have other condiments variety too, to have with your tamale.

  • Sweet tamales: sweet tamale is another option to have in the range of tamales. The restaurants that are specified in the tamales offer sweet tamales of different varieties in desserts.

How to eat these tamales are is directly dependent upon the filling a tamale has. The sweet tamales have chocolate, raisins, and bananas filled in them. It’s better to have them with hands like sandwiches and bagels.

  1. Having tamale with the other side dishes:

If you will go to a fancy restaurant in Mexico and ordered tamales their then you are not ordering tamales only. There, it will come with some side dishes like rice, salsa, or at least a beverage in complimentary. How you are going to pair your tamale with the side dish you have, is your art and science.

Let’s discuss the paired tamale.

  • A mug of stole and tamale: stole? What’s that? Also, wondering? A stole is a drink that is made from the simmered corn in water and then added flavors additionally.

Having a tamale with a cup of the stole is a perfect meal you can have. Take a bite of your favorite tamale and then add enhancement to the meal by taking a sip of the stole.

If you haven’t tried this yet let me tell you, the combination is BOMB.

  • Tamale andarroz con leche: people are get served tamale with the arroz con leche The arroz con leche is the Mexican rice pudding. This is made by boiling the long white rice kernels in the milk with cinnamon until the rice gets a custard-like consistency. This then remains in the refrigerator until gets chilled and then ready to be there on the tamale plate.

This pudding, you can call a dessert you can have after eating a tangy spicy tamale. It will balance the spices for sure.

  • Tamale and chilies:the restaurants that offer tamale with filling types like ground beef, or mutton will specifically serve their tamales with the chilies. These kinds of meet tamales are smoother in taste hence the addition of chilies wonderfully complement the tamales flavor.

If you are a spice lover, then you are going to love this combo. Anti-spice people should avoid this.

  • “Mother-in-law” the Chicago style sandwich: Looking for some unusual tamale? Then you are looking for the mother-in-law sandwich also known as the Chicago style sandwich.

In Chicago, people prefer to eat tamale sandwiched between two long buns topped with some traditional Chicago sauces like mustard and some salad like lettuce and onions. The tamale that gets sandwiched between the buns is meet filled normally.


Health benefits of eating tamale:

Nutritional facts related to tamale are.

  • Tamales are a high source of proteins and fibers. Tamales being filled with meat increase the protein content of the food. The outer dough of the tamale makes it rich in fiber. If you eat vegetable tamale then its protein content potentially decreases.

If you are diet conscious then eat the tamale that is filled with meat. You can use any kind of meat such as mutton or beef.

  • Tamales are also enriched in vitamins and minerals. Most importantly tamale has zinc in it.  These vitamins and minerals enhance the efficiency of the immune system.



Do we eat tamale with its wrap?

The tamale is wrapped in two different types of wraps.

  1. Cornhusk
  2. Plantain leaves.

It is recommended to remove the wrap before eating the tamale. The corn husk is not edible at all in contrast to the plantain leaf that you can eat.

For having proper tastes of the tamale eat it after removing the tamale cover.

What is inside a tamale?

Inside of the tamale is different depending upon the choices of the customers. The tamale wrap is made up of corn dough; the dough is filled with meat, salads, seasonings, and sauces.

All these fillings are not compulsory. You can have your custom-made tamale also.

You can additionally add the sauce from the top also. There is a wide variety of condiments that you can have with your tamale.

What does a tamale taste like?

The tamales have usually semi-soft crumbs outside the soft and saucy filling. The sweet tamales are most alike with the corn cakes but only in the case of sweet tamales. The spicy or salty tamales are different. They are a proper whole dish enriched with spices, meat, salads, and condiments.

How can we wrap a tamale?

To wrap a tamale in the corn husk; Take two long pieces of the corn husk facing the long wide side. Keep the husks in the way the narrow sides should be far from you and the broadside should face you. Add 1-2 tablespoons of the filling in the corn husk. After having proper amounts of filling wrap it properly without leaving any side open.

Keep the wrap tight on the filling. This will give the proper shape to the tamale.

Are tamales good for health?

Tamales are considered good for health because they contain all the items that have high nutrition profile. They will provide proteins, fibers, and vitamins. The tamales are steamed and not fried hence considered more beneficial. The HDL is low in the tamale because they are not get fried. Steamed tamales don’t have oil in them.

Tamale is caloric efficient too.



Let’s end the discussion with a brief conclusion.

The tamale eating styles are different depending upon the country you are living in.

Tamale is basically a traditional Mexican dish but is now served all over the world in different styles. The Mexican streets are still offering the traditional tamale without any side dish. The fancy restaurants will offer the tamale with different side dishes and beverages. Depending upon the locality present there the restaurant will make a combo of the tamale with some other dish or beverage.

In Chicago, the tamale is sandwiched between two long buns. This is the most liked type of tamale present in Chicago.

You can have one depending upon your choices and preferences. It is advised to eat meat tamale if you are not a vegetarian because it will provide the maximum of the nutrients, most importantly the proteins.

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