Friday, November 11, 2011

Huevos Con Chile (Eggs in Spicy Sauce)

Huevos con Chile, is usually scrambled eggs simmered in any type of spicy sauce that's based on chile peppers. (The sauce can vary greatly just use your favorite smooth spicy red or green or whatever salsa) my mother usually always has a glass bowl, or glass container filled with some sort of spicy salsa (usually tomato or tomatillo based, blended with certain types of chiles, garlic, onion etc.) we use this to prepare eggs in the morning, or to cook meats, etc. or as a condiment.

In Mexican Cuisine there's TONS of ways to prepare eggs. A lot of variations on scrambled eggs, different style's to serve them, etc. breakfast is typically some preparation of scrambled and or sauteed eggs that can be combined with an array of things, served on it's own with tortillas is the simplest way to serve. They can be accompanied by any combination of certain cheeses, creams, salsas or other sauces, refried beans, boiled beans, etc. and any beverage can be enjoyed (usually milk, coffee, shakes)

But that's not to say that's the only way breakfast is enjoyed, American style breakfast are popular (cereal, pancakes, waffles, etc.) or even more Spanish/ European style of breakfast as well (pastries and other sweets) served with coffee. It really all depends on preferance. It can be very varied.

At home I pretty much grew up eating all of the mentioned above, as well as the simple "fried eggs with rice", or Spanish potato omelettes (Tortilla Espanola) very common among Cubans.

Anyways back to this, my mother would usually make breakfast, so the breakfast I'm more used to is the typical Mexican breakfast of eggs prepared in a variety of ways with all the mentioned above. I tend to eat beans, eggs prepared someway, and tortilla in the morning, not only because it's delicious, but because it's super filling, nutritious, and on day's that I'm busy it's the only big strong meal I'll get (specially those day's that I'm in school all day)


-1/4 of a big onion, finely minced
-4 eggs
-dash of milk
-salt to taste
-fresh ground black pepper
-1 cup homemade spicy salsa (see posts for some of these recipe click on link for Salsa de Chile Habanero, Salsa de Chile de Arbol, Salsa de Chile Verde, or any other spicy smooth thick salsa you like)

(1) Heat oil in a medium sized pan (about 2 tablespoons more or less) over medium high heat, when oil is hot add minced onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sautee until slightly browned on the edges and caramelized)
(2) Meanwhile beat eggs with a dash or milk, and a couple pinches of salt, set aside.

(3) When onions have become slightly browned on the edges (not all of them just you know cooked),
add beaten eggs, stir in, and allow to cook (like making scrambled eggs)
(4) When eggs are cooked, add the salsa,
bring to a boil, gently fold or destribute it, if it seems too thick add a little bit of water (I usually add 1/2 cup depending how thick or thin you want the sauce). Bring to a boil for 3-5 minutes to allow flavors to infuse.
(5) Turn off heat, if you want to add some freshness add minced cilantro if not that's okay.
(6) You can serve it with corn tortillas, in a shallow bowl and it's ready to eat. You can enjoy it with other sides if you want to, like beans, or refried beans, sour cream, sometype of cheese it's up to you. Any beverage works too, coffee, milk, tea, shakes whatever you like in the morning.
*This can be extremely spicy for some people if your not used to eating chile peppers and stuff like that. So prepare with caution ha ha.
*For those who know what "Salsa Pato" is (it's a type of canned spicy chile sauce sold in a can, think of it as spicy canned tomato sauce), if you'd like you could use 1 can of salsa pato, with 1 can of water to prepare it, it will be very very delicious like that as well.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Flan de Leche (Caramel Milk Custard)

This is a different style of making the famous "Flan" the caramel custard of the Spanish speaking world (I think every spanish speaking country has some version of flan).

Now growing up I ate A LOT of flan (different flavors and textures) there's generally two types. Those that are very rich, creamy and dense, similar to a cheesecake texture I would say. Those are typically made with condensed milk, evaporated milk, and eggs sometimes with the addition of cream cheese for extra richness. Usually always full proof.

However today I go into the pantry having flan on my mind... and GASP I had NO EVAPORATED MILK!!! I did have a can of condensed though... and I thought to myself, "Eh if I don't have both cans I'm not making it... well now is a perfect time to experiment and make the one's that are made from scratch using just cow's milk" and so I did :D I've had the one's made with just milk before, and the difference is these are in my opinion a whole different type of flan on their own... NOT IN A BAD WAY... just depends your likes. The one's that are made with just milk have a more "jello" like texture, they are generally lighter in texture, and slightly more eggy (more eggs are used to stabilize)... umm I would describe it as sweet milk jello LOL. my household loves this type of flan too though, it had been forever since I had (literally forever last time I had this type of flan was when I lived in LA back in mid 90's when I was still in elementary school)

So if your interested in a different type of flan give this one a go-go :)

Ingredients for custard:
-4 cups milk
-1 small lime peel (optional)
-1 large or 2 tiny sticks of cinnamon (optional)
-1 cup sugar (you can add wayyyyy more sugar if you'd like LOL. but my mom doesn't like it too sweet)
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-8 whole eggs

For the caramel:
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/4 cup water

(1) Heat milk in a deep sauce-pan, add sugar, together with lime peel and cinnamon sticks (optional I like the hint they add, it's a typical combination in cuban or spanish cuisine to fuse cinnamon and citrus flavors) but it will be just as good with vanilla as flavoring.
(2) Allow to simmer about 10 minutes to really infuse, then cool, also the purpose of heating the milk isn't only to infuse it with other flavors, it's also done to make the flan more smooth, so the sugar becomes smooth. Remove lime peel, and cinnamon when cooled enough to handle

(3) Now beat 8 eggs with vanilla extract,
and slowly stream in milk mixture until fully incorporated
(4) Set aside mixture, now the caramel part, I personally make the caramel using water and let it reduce out, this let's me do it quick (using super high heat without worrying about burning or clumping while stirring vigorously, the water kinda stabalizes it, won't let it burn right away if you pay attention to it)
Once it starts becoming a dark amber color, pour the caramel into a mold carefully grabbing the edges of the vessel your using coat it, it will seem like it's too much caramel sometimes but keep rotating and spreading the caramel on the vessel until it hardens and coats everything... isn't beautiful :D
(5) Now strain the milk mixture in
(6) Cover it with aluminum foil (or leave it un-covered your choice I just think it's better covered), and place it in a water bath (that just means in another container with some water) in the oven at 350 degrees
(7) Should be done anywhere from 1-2 hours just check it after one hour, if it's too jiggly and looks like it's liquidy too much still then leave it longer, if not then take it out, you can test it with a knife, if the knife comes out clean your good :)
(8) Allow to cool completely, (ideally in the fridge, for several hours and or over night to allow it to set well) however I was in a hurry so I put it in a ice water bath hehe, and then vigorously flipped it our (by putting a plate on the vessel then flipping it out), thus it broke, also when done with just milk the custard is more sensetive and breaks easily
Not my prettiest flan :-/
If interested in other Flan recipes check out:
(1) Flan de Queso (Cheese Flan the riches flan you'll ever HAVE!)

(2) Flan de Coco (rich coconut flan, made using thick coconut milk)

(3) Eggnog Flan (this one will get you in the Christmas mood ha ha)

(4) Pastel Impossible (Moist chocolate cake layered with flan)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Chayote Sancochado (Steamed Chayote)

I haven't been blogging much, doesn't mean I haven't cooked, but it's because well my camera is busted still like doesn't work for sh#t, and I haven't made time to buy a new one :/ (anyone wanna mail me one for free hehe just kidding... well not really lol.)

Well I took my Dad's camera yesterday when I was making this very simple vegetable side dish. I wasn't sure to post it because it is so simple, but sometimes people want to know the simple things, or simply know them but never think about it. It's essentially Chayote, steamed in a pot with a little water, you can serve it with squeeze of lime and salt if your on a diet LOL. or if not with a couple pats of butter and some salt. For Cubans it would be best enjoyed with"Mojo de Ajo" (Cuban garlic sauce) but the other two ways mentioned would also be good. This can be a side to just about anything atleast it would fit into any Latin or Spanish meal as a vegetable side no matter the time of the day.

To those that don't know what "Chayote" is it is also known in english as "Alligator Pear", when raw it's texture is hard and crisp yet somewhat slippery? THe taste I can describe it as a cross between a cucumber and Italian or Mexican squash, I've never consumed it raw however. It can be peeled, the center core removed, cut into chunks or however and added to soups or stews. It can be sauteed on it's own,with meat, used in stir-fried, or steamed it is truly very very versatile.

-3 large Chayotes
-water (enough to fill the pot about 1 inch or 2)

To serve once cooked:

-some butter and salt OR a squeeze of lime and salt OR Mojo de Ajo (Cuban Garlic Sauce)

(1) Wash really well, cut in half, then wash again, drain.
(2) Place in a pot with enough water to cover one inch, bring to a boil on high heat, cover, and lower heat to medium.
(3) Steam for 30 minutes until tender.
Here's 4 segments left, my mom was quick to grab some for herself before i was able to even take pictures hehe(4) Serve with a squeeze of lime and salt, or some butter and sprinkle or salt OR if your used to/ or love the pungent Cuban garlic sauce and don't mind the dragon breath feel free to smother it with "Mojo de Ajo"
PLEASE NOTE... the Chayote you can remove the center core if you want, my mom likes to eat it so I leave it, because it will turn tender if cooked long enough, the skin of the chayote for this recipe I leave it on since after steaming a long time it also turns tender. However the front tip and back tip for sometimes will not turn tender and are often cut off after steaming, it's up to you :)


I'm labeling this as both Mexican and Cuban because pretty much I've seen Cubans cook it and also Mexicans enjoy it. However serving certain steamed or boiled vegetables (usually root vegetables) with Mojo/ garlic sauce is a Cuban thing :)

If interested in other recipe check out my post for "Guiso de Chayote" (sauteed Chayote squash, I cooked it with pork)

Also it's used in 3 different vegetable soups I've posted check out:
(1) Cocido de Res (Mexican Vegetable and Beef Soup)
(2) Cocido Salvadoreno (Salvadorian Vegetable and Beef Soup)
(3) Caldo de Albondigas (Mexican Meatball Stew)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Paella de Mariscos (Seafood Paella)

Paella de Mariscos/ Seafood Paella is typically short grain rice cooked with well a mixture of seafood. In my family it's well the only thing they consider "Paella" Now variations with sausage, pork, chicken etc. combined with seafood we call it "Paella Mixta"/ Mixed Paella (mixed Paella because well it mixes meat and seafood)

Now to all those purist who argue on how a Paella is made, just so you know the AUTHENTIC Paella from VALENCIA Spain resembles nothing of what a Paella is thought of around the world. The AUTHENTIC PAELLA called "Paella Valenciana" it is made with olive oil, rabbit, snails, some type of broad beans, grated tomato, garlic, smoked paprika, rosemary, a good stock and short-grain rice. Nothing more nothing less. How Paella evolved into many, many other variations I don't know hehe, but hey the more the merrier right? and for those that say you can only make it using "Saffron" and otherwise it's taboo I wanna say bull $h!t, yes saffron has a nice fragrance but many people in Spain use "Colorante Alimentario" when makiing Paella which is a powdered coloring that makes rices yellow, when I use that I use a brand called "Bijol" which is available in most Latin stores in the states. In my opinion the key to a good Paella is cooking down the aromatics (garlic, tomato, onion whatever you used) and having a very good flavorful stock, also water to rice ratio.

Now that I got that out of the way MY VERSION of Paella, my version of Paella is made with only seafood shrimp, mussels/ clams, calamari, scallops or fish chunks cooked in a seafood stock with spices and a good sofrito of onions, garlic, and bell peppers. Garnished with fire roasted red bell peppers and peas. This recipe is a combination of my 86 year old grandmothers recipe well what I know works in the kitchen (she insisted the one her father made had cumin and sweet smoked spanish paprika so I used them in this Paella, and she didn't want any tomato in the sofrito so that's what I went with and after all today when I made this Paella I made it for her, and my goal was well to make her happy so what she said goes :)

Ingredients for stock:
-water (enough to fill a large pot half way)
-shrimp shells (reserved from peeling shrimp)
-mussel or clam broth (reserved from opening the clams or mussels)
-salt to taste

Main Ingredients:

-1 lbs. short grain rice (3 cups)
-1 large squid (cleaned, gutted, skin removed, cut into rings, or squares)
-1 lbs. shrimp, cleaned, de-veined, shells removed and reserved to make stock
-1 lbs. mussels or clams (or a mix of both I used just mussels this time)
-1/2 lbs. firm white fish filets cut into chunks or scallops (optional your choice I like em in there I used scallops this time)
-1 onion minced
-1 green or red bell pepper minced
-4-6 cloves garlic finely minced
-1/2-1 cup dry white wine or 1 can of a light colored beer
-1 tablespoon "Pimenton" (sweet smoked Spanish paprika)
-1/2 tsp. ground cumin -1- 2 bay leaves
-powdered saffron or "colorante alimentario" or "bijol" to give the rice it's yellow color
-6 cups of a good seafood stock (see recipe)

Ingredients for garnishes
-1 fire roasted red bell pepper (cut into strips)
-1 handful of peas

Directions for stock:
(1) Grab the reserved shrimp shells, throw in pot with water, bring to a boil and leave alone for about 10- 15 minutes then turn off heat, and strain. Set aside.

(2) Meanwhile get mussels or clams, scrub them well, and put in a small pot with oil heat stirring occasionally until they open. They will release juice, strain the juices through a very fine strainer, reserve them and add it to your shrimp stock.

(3) Very simple right that's the stock you will use to cook your rice :) NOW PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING I understand some will buy pre-cooked frozen mussels or clams, and their shrimp will already be peeled thus not being able to make the stock from scratch, that is OK don't freak out, instead of making the stock use water but be sure to boil the water and add 2 cubes of shrimp bouillon and set it aside, it's not EXACTLY the same but it will work, or buy a good quality seafood stock.

Directions for making the Paella:
(1) Heat a very generous amount of olive oil over high heat in a large wide pan (preferably a Paellera) if you don't have one use a gigantic non-stick pan, or large wide round metal pan either will work. Add your calamari/ squid to the oil and stir, it will release juices allow it to reduce until it's just oil.

(2) Now add your garlic, onions, bell pepper and bay leaves stir occasionally and lower heat to medium high. Allow this mixture to cook 5-8 minutes until fragrant and translucent.

(3) Add your rice, sweet smoked spanish paprika & cumin and give it a good stir so everything get's mixed, well.
(4) Add your boiling/ hot seafood stock (that you either made yourself, or used bouillon cube, or bought pre-made). Add your saffron (I grinded about 1 tsp. in a mortar) or you can use about 1/2 - 1 tsp bijol or other substance that will color the rice yellow. Allow everything to come to a boil over high heat, give a good stir and allow to boil over high heat uncovered approximately 10 minutes, then lower heat to medium high and allow to boil uncovered another 8 minutes,

(5) Add your raw shrimp, scallops or fish filets and press into the Paella lightly, insert the mussels and clams and allow to cook uncovered an additional 4 minutes or so. Remove from heat, cover with a cloth, and allow to rest 5- 10 minutes

Directions for garnish (optional)
(1) Arrange fire roasted red bell peppers cut into strips and scatter peas over the paella just for some eye appeal I guess :) To make your own fire roasted red bell pepper, simply put the red bell pepper fresh over a flame on your stove and move around with tongs until charred all over, wrap in plastic bag and allow to sweat for about 5-10 minutes, then peel off skin and slice into long strips :)

Yeah sorry I didn't take so many pictures, but I still havent gotten a new camera, bummed one of my dad for the day, and got lost having conversations with the family and socializing while being in the kitchen that I forgot to take pictures of every step. I will re-blog this again but just wanted to share :)
Also if you guys want to see some interesting variations of Paella type dishes check out my post for "Paella de Nabo Con Costilla de Cerdo y Coliflor" (mixed rice dish of turnip, cauliflower and pork ribs) that dish is a family favorite. Also for something American that is just as delicious check out my post for "Jambalaya" (which is another one of my favorite rice dishes) can't forget the "Arroz Con Pollo" (yellow rice and chicken) I also make a pretty killer "soupy rice with chicken" we call "Arroz Caldoso Con Pollo" some Cubans call it "Arroz Con Pollo a la Chorrera"
I didn't do it this time, but I would've loved to add fresh grated tomato to the "sofrito" or prepared tomato sauce but I didn't because I know my grandmother doesn't like it when people add tomato to mixed yellow rice dishes. Also I like to serve mine with lime or lemon wedges because well in my opinion it brightens it up however my parents and grandmother do not eat it that way they :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tamal en Cazuela (Cuban Polenta w/ Pork)

For those not familiar with Cuban cuisine, or those not exposed to the really down home, not in Cuban restaurant type dishes or the more rarily occasionally prepared dishes let me introduce you to "Tamal en Cazuela" it is essentially polenta/ a creamy corn porridge made from either course or fine cornmeal or freshly ground corn stewed with generous fried pork pieces and a sofrito (the base of Cuban cooking onion, garlic, bell pepper sometimes tomato) kissed with cumin and oregano.

Of course there are tons of variations, but I think mine kicks ass he he and is pretty simple and awesome (I've tried other Cubans "Tamal en Cazuela" and find it to acidic I really don't think it needs wine, or vinegar, or sour citrus as many Cubans like to add, or an excessive amount of canned tomato which I feel is what makes it too acidic...) the name of the recipe literally translates to "Tamale in a Pot/ stew" and Cuban tamales aren't sour so my tamale in a pot won't be either...

Anyways so I prepared this yesterday not really using a recipe but just what I believe would make it taste good or how it should be he he. Like I prepared it the same way my grandmother explains Cuban tamales to me except it was in the form of a corn porridge/ stew and it was a big hit, my family went gaga for it, and my Spaniard/ Cuban grandmother whom is hard to please or never really compliments food unless it's amazing let out a approving "mmmmmmmm quedo muy bueno mijito" which she rarily does (translates to "mmmmmmm came out real good son") lol. and her approval is all that matters in the dinner table when she's with us anyways lol. (I love my Tata/ Abuela :)

At the same time I wasn't really surprised she likes it because my grandmother is a sucker for any type of Cuban style polenta dishes, or puddings.

-2 lbs. well marbled pork meat (from the leg or thigh often sold as pork butt) cut into small cubes
-1 onion minced
-1 bell pepper minced
-6 cloves garlic finely minced or through a garlic press
-1/2- 1 cup tomato sauce or 3 fresh grated or pureed tomatoes
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-1 fat pinch ground oregano
-ground black pepper to taste
-salt to taste
-1 1/2 cups coarse or finely ground cornmeal
-10- 12 cups water
-1 can of creamed corn

(1) First thing you want to do is wash your cut pork, put it in a deep-pan cover with water not alot just enough to barely cover, add 2 tsp. salt, black pepper to taste, and a fat pinch of cumin. To this add 2 tablespoonfuls of lard or olive oil. Bring to a boil on high, stir and leave uncovered
(2) Meanwhile chop all the stuff for your sofrito (the onion, garlic, bell pepper) and prep everything. Then get a large pot and add your 1 1/2 cups of cornmeal, cover with water generously (don't measure at this point we are just washing it) give it a good stir, and wait 3 minutes or less for the cornmeal to settle at the bottom, then slowly and carefully pour most of the water out, repeat this once or twice. This is just a habit my grandmother taught me, she likes to wash the cormeal.
(3) Now after doing that add about 10- 12 cups water, 1 tablespoon salt, and I like to add 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar so it has the sweetness of fresh corn (really depends how thick or thin you want your stew), and put on the stove over high heat, stirring constantly until it comes to a boil (this takes awhile) then lower heat to low and stir occasionally scraping bottom while you do other stuff.
(4) At this point like seen above the water you covered the pork with should evaporate or is close to and allow meat to brown all over, and add you onion, garlic, and bell pepper, allow to cook down and stir the pork occasionally for about 8 minutes on medium high heat til onions are translucent and garlic very fragrant stir in ground cumin, then add tomato and stir let cook an additional 2 minutes. Meanwhile stir your cornmeal to make sure it doesn't stick to bottom of pot while you were doing all that.
(5) Now add your pork, onion, garlic, bell pepper, tomato and spice mixture you had all frying up together in the seperate pan to the cornmeal, along with the can of creamed corn. Raise heat to medium and stir constantly for about 5 minutes, add salt to taste (I added about 1 teaspoon more) if needed.
(6) Turn off heat and ready to serve
I served it with a nice salad of thinly sliced tomato, lettuce, onion, tossed in lime, olive oil, and salt.

Yeah I know the pictures look "shitty" it's because I just moved, have no "real camera" and yeah, but just wanted to share anyways for those who wanna enjoy it anyways :)

Also for those interested in another type cuban polenta type dish check out my post for "Harina de Maiz Con Pata de Cangrejo" (Cuban Polenta with Crab legs) by clicking the link below

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tamales Salvadoreños de Pollo (Salvadorian Chicken Tamales)

Tamales are typically a type of hmmm you could consider it a steamed meat pie or something of that sort, a starchy dough typically made of corn, filled with anything (most commonly some protien) wrapped in a "leaf wrapper" and steamed or boiled. Every Latin/ spanish speaking country in general has their own version/ variation, and even within a particular country recipes and styles of preparation abound.

Growing up I grew up on Mexican Tamales, and occasionally would enjoy a store bought Cuban Tamal from Portos (which is probably a joke I seriously need to learn and make Cuban tamales one of these days), anyways one day when I was about 6 years old I'll never forget I had my first Salvadorian tamale and I fell in love with it, bit into it, it was different, it was very moist, and had a brothy savoriness, like a congealed thick rich corn pudding, filled with chicken, potatoes, chickpeas, and green olives with a distinct scent from the banana leaves. I fell in love :) I use to eat them every other Saturday when we'd go out and we would buy them from the "Tamalera" in the "barrio" haha (Tamalera are woman who usually sell tamales in street cars). Now that I cook and have observed family and friends whom cook as well, the thing that made these Salvadorian tamales so different was that unlike the Mexican one's which are prepared from a raw corn dough made of corn treated with lime, lots of delicious pork fat and leavening and tpyically wrapped in corn husks, the Salvadorian one's are prepared with a dough that is pre-cooked, with a type of sofrito they call "recaudo", and generous amounts of oil (use a heart healthy oil and this will not be sinful) and wrapped in pre-cooked banana leave.

The recipe I present to you today is a combination of two of our family friends recipes, the filling is shredded chicken stewed with potatoes, olives, and chickpeas wrapped in banana leaf and boiled/ steamed. Now I broke down the recipe into several parts, it looks over whelming but really isn't, you jus need time and patience, together with my mother I was able to complete the wrapping of the tamales and everything within 2 hrs, then I sat back 1 hr and relaxed while they steamed/ boiled. Now I also wanna say I don't use just banana leaf to wrap them, I learned to wrap them using banana leaf for flavor and the aluminum to completely seal. It's also cheaper that way since the banana leaf is expensive and it also DOESN'T compromise taste by doing the aluminum with banana leaf method.

*Ingredients for stock:
-1 whole chicken (skinned and well rinsed/ washed, I rub it with lime and salt and rinse several times)
-1/2 onion whole, peeled
-2 cloves garlic
-2 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder
-1-2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
-water (enough to completely submerge chicken)

*Ingredients for "Recaudo" (sauce):
-1/2 cup oil (typically they use vegetable oil for this since it's similar to the sofrito I'm used to I used extra-virgin olive oil)
-1 onion chopped
-1/2 green bell pepper chopped
-1/2 red bell pepper chopped
-3 cloves garlic minced
-8- 10 roma tomatoes chopped
-1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
-salt (just sprinkled over chopped veggies when frying them)
-4 freshly ground cloves, or 1 very small teaspoon ground cloves (optional)

*Ingredients for "Masa"/ dough

-5 cups dry"masa harina" (MASECA brand preferably it's the one everyone down here uses down here/ I grew up with)
-water (as needed)
-about 10 cups chicken stock (the reserved liquid from cooking the chicken)
-1 cup oil (I used canola oil because of it's neutral taste)
-salt to taste (about 2 tsp. or more to taste)
-1/2 of the recaudo (instructions to make this in recipe directions)

*Ingredients for filling:

-1 whole chicken shredded (the chicken leftover from making the stock)
-1/2 of the recaudo
-4 potatoes (previously boiled, peeled and cut into cubes)
-1 cup cooked chickpeas/ garbanzos (they can be from a can, I boiled a huge batch and used the rest for cooking other stuff)
-8 green pimiento stuffed olives thinly sliced
-salt to taste
-2 cups of the prepared dough/ masa to thicken the stew

*Ingredients for wrapping:
-1 1/2 lbs. banana leaf
-1 container aluminum foil

Directions for chicken stock and cooking chicken:
(1) Bring water to a boil in a pot with 1/2 onion, 2 garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons bouillon powder, and salt to taste. When water boils add cleaned, and skinned chicken, cover and boil for 45 minutes- 1 hour until tender.
(2) When chicken is tender, strain broth, pull chicken out, shred and set aside,
reserve the leftover stock which will be used to prepare the rest of the dish.

Directions for RECAUDO:
(1) Heat a pot with generous amounts of oil on medium high heat, sautee the onion, garlic, and bell peppers about 5- 10 minutes also sprinkle salt on them until very fragrant, and tender (this is the secret to making the tamales good in my opinion),
now add the chopped tomatoes and continue cooking about 5- 10 more minutes also sprinkle a little salt, until they reduce and fry in the oil, now add 1 teaspoon bouillon powder, and the ground cloves (if using/ available).
(2) Turn off heat, take the mixture to a blender or food processor, add a little bit of the chicken stock to help puree it to a smooth sauce. Set this mixture aside, it will be used for preparing the filling and dough. Divide the mixture into 2 portions, half will be used for the filling, the other half for the dough.

Directions for dough:
(1) Put the 5 cups of masa harina in a LARGE and DEEP pot (trust me it will grow alot once cooking starts and absorbs ALOT of liquid),
so slowly add cold water and mix the mixture until you get a smooth pancake batter consistency (I used a hand blender and did it in 5 minutes, other people do it by hand and it will take awhile to get rid of clumps.) you may think "why can't I use the chicken stock" chances are the stock is real hot, and if u try to dissolve it in the hot stock it will cook into clumps... SO USE COLD WATER once diluted then you can add the stock... just keep reading lol.

Now add chicken stock about 10 cups or so, and stir over medium high heat on stove top until it starts boiling, when it starts boiling/ thickening, add the oil, 1/2 of the RECAUDO (blended cooked onion, garlic, bell pepper, tomato, spice mixture), salt to taste and continue to stir. Stir in once motion scraping bottom eventually the mixture will start thickening and cook stirring constantly (don't leave it alone!) this takes about 30 minutes.
MAKE SURE it taste good and has enough salt/ flavor.

(3) Turn off heat and DO NOT stir the mixture anymore once it thickens and cooks through DO NOT I repeat DO NOT stir it let it cool a bit for 30 minutes or so before working with it, if you stir once it's cooling it will clump up... trust me! Set is aside.

Directions for filling:
(1) Here comes the directions for filling :) Heat a pot with a drizzle of oil, when hot add the blended RECAUDO (the other half you had reserved, the other half should have been used for the dough), when the recaudo comes to a boil, add shredded chicken, garbanzos, olives, already cooked diced potato and bring to a boil, add some chicken stock to this to make a sauce, about 1-2 cups. Taste if it has enough salt, and scoop out about 2 cups of the prepared masa and use it to thicken the stew.
Set it aside.

Directions for prepping the banana leaves and wrapping:
(1) Cut the banana leaves into rectangles, remove any ugly edges, submerge them in water to clean and drain, pat- dry and pass each leaf through fire until it turns a darker green (like have your burner and set it on the burner carefully pass it through the fire til it tunrs a brighter green and set aside, this is done to clean the leaves and also makes them flexible/ won't allow them to break apart. Another option is to set them on a very hot skillet or griddle flipping them a couple times til they turn a darker brighter green and are heated through.
(2) Now cut the aluminum into large squares/ rectangles and place a piece of the leaf on it as shown below.
(3) Continue to pile them up (this will be your wrapping) set this pile aside. You should have about 35- 36 of them for this recipe.

Directions for wrapping:
(1) Place the wrapper like so. Spoon with a large ladel some of the cooked masa mixture
(2) Spoon over that the chicken filling
(3) Fold the leaf like a taco,
then quickly fold aluminum over it, and press sides into the shape of a tamal,
fold over and press into shape of tamal, making sure to press inwards so non of the dough runs out,
repeat the fold over, and press sides again,
then fold the sides in to seal twice
repeat for the rest of the tamales, and pile them up.
Directions for finishing off/ cooking the formed tamales:
(1) Get a large deep-pot, line the bottom with banana leaves, pile the tamales one on top of another, and add enough water so that only 1 layer of the tamale stack isn't covered in water (the rest of them will be submerged.
(2) Cover the pile with banana leaves, put lid on pot and bring to a rolling boil, then let boil/ steam on medium for 60 minutes.

(3) Turn off heat, drain out as much water as possible, by carefully lifting pot, and lifting part of lid, and tipping over the sink to drain out the hot water. Now remove the one's you want to eat and let them slightly cool and chow down.
PLEASE NOTE that when just barely made they will be extremely hot, and tender, they actually in my opinion taste better the next day/ have better texture. You can serve them with anything you'd like or eat them alone. They're very good with refried black beans, and sour cream :)

Salvadorian means from "El Salvador" a country located in central America, I really love & appreciate their varied cuisine (my half- sister is Salvadorian) and I hope if any of you ever try these tamales you'll enjoy them as much as I do :)

Also I used cloves in here because one of my family friends does it that way and it gives it a nice sweet note without being sweet like it adds a little something to it, I have friends that don't use cloves and it still comes out good, some people like to spice it by adding about 1 teaspoon of ground cumin into the the filling mixture or recaudo.

ALSO... for those interested in the Mexican Tamales click the link below I have a recipe for the green chicken one's and red pork one's :)

and for a sweet dessert version of the mexican one's that are pineapple flavored click link below: