When Scott told me that my favorite Puerto Vallarta restaurant, El Arrayán, would be holding a class on tamales, my favorite Mexican food, I couldn't say no! I've made tamales at home in the past, but I knew I'd have a lot to learn.
The first part of class took place at a local market, so that we could learn to identify some of the raw ingredients common to Mexican cooking.
This is Carmen, one of the owners of El Arrayán, starting our lesson on tamales.
Laura, Carmen's cousin, a tamal expert!
Dried corn husk wrappers for three of the four kinds of tamales we made. There was one sweet tamal made with candied cactus and pineapple, one savory rolled with black beans, one filled with pork, and one with fresh corn. All four were delicious.
Mmmm...lard. Once the lard was whipped into oblivion, we mixed it with the masa (cornmeal) to make the outside of the tamales.
Fresh corn husks to wrap the fresh corn tamales.
Pork filling for the only meat-filled tamal.
Laura at work spreading black beans onto some very sticky masa. These ones were rolled up cinnamon-roll style before slicing them and wrapping them in corn husks.
My sister-in-law, Natalie, wrapping up some tamales.
Laura showing us how to fill the pork tamales.