Azucenas offers an excellent hands-on three hour foray into the secrets of making Oaxacan Tamales de Mole y Pollo con Hoja de Platano (Black Mole and Chicken in Banana Leaf) and Tamales de Frijol con Hoja de Maiz (Black Bean with “Saint’s Leaf” Tamales Wrapped in Corn Husks). Additionally we prepared Salsa para los Tamales de Frijol (Salsa for the Bean Tamales) that consisted of chile, tomatillos and garlic clove.
There are many all day cooking classes offered in Oaxaca that begin with a trip to the local market and a considerable amount of time doing prep work. Our instructor, Sra. Clara, had already purchased all the ingredients, prepared her own mole and boiled the black beans. We moved directly into boiling chicken, preparing the two different masa mixtures, and boiling the ingredients for the salsa.
I was grateful that it was only a class of two students – this may be the minimum to hold class. We were allowed to document the process with pictures and really do each step in the assembly of the tamales. Watching an instructor mixing consommé, lard and water into the masa to achieve a “cream of wheat” consistency is reinforced when you get to put your hands in the pan and feel the required texture.
The class concludes with the steaming of the tamales in a pot lined with corn husks and topped with banana leaves while the instructor cleaned up “our” mess. When the tamales were done, we were offered all the tamales we could eat along with a beverage of choice (beer or mezcal were our choices) and the friendly hotel staff joined in for a late lunch. As we prepared to leave, we were each handed a plate piled with tamales to take home as well as a printed copy of the recipes.
For some, Sra. Clara’s limited English may be a concern. However, even with my rudimentary Spanish I had no problem communicating and asking questions.
For me, this tamale cooking class was four thumbs up!
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- Also Known As:
- Azucenas Hotel Oaxaca