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What is the best way to execute tamales as an appetizer in a restaurant? I'm looking at 7-10 minute ticket time. I can only think of pre-steaming the tamales and steaming or simmering in sauce to order. Does anyone have any experience with these in the professional kitchen?
By Chris Hennes
Over in the Cooking with "Eat Mexico" topic I've posted a about things I've made from Lesley Téllez's recently-published book about street food in Mexico City. I finally had time to go down to "CDMX" (as they are now trying to rebrand themselves) this weekend and went on two of the Eat Mexico food tours. On Friday we went on the street food tour, and on Saturday on the San Juan market tour. The pope was also in town this weekend which made the city crazier than usual and drove the tour selections as we tried to not be where he was, with limited success.
Street Food Tour
I have limited photos of this one because our hands were usually full! There are ten "normal" stops on the tour plus a couple of optional ones. One of the vendors was closed for the day, but we definitely had no shortage of food. I think the tour lasted something like four hours, and we were basically eating the whole time. Most of it was standing and walking, but we did stop into a local coffee shop and sit down for a short time. Our guide, Arturo, was excellent. He is from the city, has attended culinary school, and is very well versed in both the local street food culture as well as Mexican cuisine overall.
While the tour was mostly eating, we did walk through one small neighborhood market just to get the feel for the thing, and we stopped at one local tortilleria:
The classic tortilla-delivery vehicle:
We chatted up a local store owner who was making "antojitos" ("little cravings") for breakfast:
Ate some tamales, walked a bit, then had some tlacoyos: here are the condiments...
We also had some fresh juices. They really like their pseudo-medicinal juices.. we had the one that was "anti-flu" (and delicious):
For the tlacoyos I had a huitlacoche and my wife has the chicken tinga. The huitlacoche was disappointingly non-descript. The remedy, of course, was to douse it in salsa, which fixes everything. A few blocks down we had carnitas tacos:
And then some mango and watermelon with chile powder:
Arturo tried to ply us with more food at the nearby burreria, but at this point we were on the verge of exploding:
So we stopped for some locally-roasted coffee:
Then on to a burrito place (of all things!) -- the guy running the burrito place was hilarious, and totally frank about stealing the burrito thing from Texas and then "fixing it." He's had the stand for something like 20 years. We split a squash blossom burrito (squash blossoms, onions, salsa, and cheese are the only ingredients, no rice or beans) which he makes on the griddle and then covers in a cheese blend and fries until the cheese browns and crisps. Definitely an improved burrito! Yeah, no photos there. Second to last was an absolutely terrific octopus tostada:
And then a final stop for dessert (which we took back to the hotel rather than eating it there):
ETA: A couple more photos. Also, there was a turkey and pork sandwich of some kind that I have no photos of and can't quite remember where it fit into the tour. Just in case you were worried about us starving.
Salsa Para Enchiladas
3 ancho chiles
2 New Mexico chiles
2 chipotle chiles
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 TB flour
2 TB vegetable oil
1 tsp vinegar
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp dried oregano
2 cups broth, stock, or (filtered) chili soaking liquid
Rinse, stem and seed chiles. Place in saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil. Cover and remove from heat and let soften and cool. While the chiles are cooling, gently sauté garlic slices in oil until they are soft and golden brown. Remove the garlic from the oil, with a slotted spoon and reserve. Make a light roux by adding the flour to the oil and sautéing briefly. Drain the chilies and puree them with the garlic slices and half of the liquid. Strain the puree back into the saucepan. Pour the remainder of the liquid through the sieve to loosen any remaining chili pulp. Add the roux to the saucepan and whisk to blend. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan, bring to a boil then and simmer 15-20 minutes. Taste and add additional salt and vinegar if necessary.
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