LUNCH: homemade nicaraguan chicken tamale | corona, ca

27Dec11

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Over the Christmas weekend, I consumed more homemade Mexican tamales than I’ve ever had in my life (#winning).  They were delicious.  When I had the chance to try a homemade Nicaraguan tamale, I was indeed excited to experience the comparison.  No, my family did not make them.  They are traditional Chinese and do not celebrate American holidays, except when Mother’s and Father’s day rolls around and I get subtle but obvious reminders from my mom to appreciate her and dad, which I have no qualms in obliging.  I never had a Christmas tree at my house …… until this year when my brother bought a BABY plastic one for his kids to experience Christmas holiday that we never did while growing up.

This year, I spent my Christmas weekend in Palm Springs.  My first time officially hanging in that area (Cabazon outlet shopping does not count).  The Nicaraguan tamale was made by a family in Corona, CA and was brought back to Palm Springs as holiday leftovers and was kindly handed to me to try.

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Where: Corona, CA

What: Homemade Nicaraguan chicken tamale (masa, rice, potato, onions, green bell peppers, marinated chicken and unknown spices)

Verdict: I’m a big fan of carbs.  Walk by any bakery and you will see me salivating in front of their window like a dog waiting for a snack.  However, when there are too much (plain) carb varieties going on in a dish, it takes away from the main ingredients.  Case in point, the Nicaraguan tamale has three different carbs going on – masa, rice and potatoes.  I could have tolerated the masa and rice together but add potatoes and it’s already too much.  I ended up manually taking them out.

The marinated chicken was moist and very tender.  But due to the amount of plain carbs, it didn’t shine in taste.  I really wanted to like this tamale but I’d have to say that the Mexican version has prevailed – less masa, equal balance of filling. I brought home a few other versions of Mexican tamales that were made by different people that I am excited to try. One is a sweet kind with pineapple!  I’ve never tasted a sweet tamale with fruit before (I’ve had the tasty Salvadoran elote tamales).

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