Friday, February 24, 2006



When we returned from the market Chela got to work in the kitchen. She cooked the pork until it could be shredded, then she chopped and sauteed vegetables to mix with the pork. She mixed the cooking liquid from the pork with corn flour, then added both lard and butter and stirred it into a thick paste. Large green leaves (I don't know what they were. They looked like banana leaves) that we had purchased at the market were washed and made ready to accept the fillings. All the ingredients were organized on the kitchen table and we gathered around to begin assembling.

We would take a leaf and break off the stem. It helps to run a spoon over the stiff center vein of the leaf to make it more pliable. Then you put a spoonful of the corn flour paste in the center of the leaf and pat it into a flattened circle. In the center of that you put a spoonful of the meat/vegetable mixture, then a sprinkle of chopped cooked egg and several raisins. Now comes the tricky part. You fold the sides of the leaf in so the dough encloses the filling, then fold the ends of the leaf under to make a neat packet.

I have made Mexican style tamales and these were similar with a few differences. The vegetable/meat mixture had carrots, red peppers, fresh peas, cilantro and spices. The biggest difference was the use of the leaves to wrap them instead of cornhusks as Mexican tamales use.

When we had used up all the ingredients and had a nice stack of bright green tamale packets, Chela carefully loaded them into a big pot to steam them for an hour or so.

The tamales would be the first course of our New Years Eve dinner. Mmmmmmm.

I've really enjoyed reading through your blog. I was in Quito just before Christmas (I saw the Oreo Christmas tree at Megamaxi too!),Cuenca on New Years Eve, and Otavalo in between so it was pretty cool to see your pictures.Who knows,we may have passed each other on our travels!
I think I even recognized the women in your Otavalo pictures!

I love Ecuador and have been there 3 times; the people are so friendly and there's so much to see! To anyone who's considering it for a holiday - go!

Thanks again, it was a pleasure.
Gosh, Meemee, we probably passed on the street! Keep looking at our blog. Maybe you will show up in one of the pictures.

Thanks for the your comments. It sounds like you are a kindred spirit.

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