Back in December I enjoyed a “rajas tamale” for the first time… and since then I’ve been hoping for another chance to have another. Yesterday, my prayers were answered… I was at a local farmer’s market and stopped to read the menu at the tamale booth. And there it was … in all it’s glory… #5 “Chile and Cheese (rajas)” !!!
But what exactly is “rajas”? That was MY question! (Honestly, after tasting it, I didn’t really care WHAT it was… I just wanted to know how to get my hands on more of it!)
Here is what I found:
Rajas – roasted peppers cut into strips and mixed with melted cheese
Thought to self:
Well, of course you can make a tamale out of those scrumptious ingredients!
So, I bought some… you don’t have to twist my arm!
Let’s unwrap this thing and see what the tamale looks like. Tamales are a very traditional mexican food.
The “filling” can be whatever you want… chicken or beef or pork, some contain vegetables only or cheese only or a mixture of some of the above ingredients. But the trick is getting just the right amount of “filling” wrapped in the right amount of masa.
What is masa?
My un-culinary-like definition is this: a dough or paste made of ground corn.
And for a more technical answer, see this link: masa
In the above picture, you see a corn husk wrapping up the masa and the filling. When you enjoy your tamale, this is what wraps it all up for the cooking process. (It kind of acts like aluminum foil around a filet of fish for the cooking process. It keeps it all together so that the ingredients don’t wander too far off.)
When you are ready to eat your tamale, remove the corn husk. Or simply unwrap the package like a beautiful birthday present… and stare at it for a while.
Then when you are ready… you can cut into your tamale. You can cut it however you want… usually I start by peeling off just a little bit of the masa encasing the filling and see what I’m getting ready to eat.
In the above picture you see strips of poblano peppers (the darker strips on the left) and a half of a serrano pepper (the light strip on the tip/right, with the rib and seeds still attached). And all that gooey cheese? Do you SEE that?!
Excuse me… it’s lunch time…
enjoy your time in the kitchen…