started making tamales when I was seven years old. My fondest childhood
memories are of making tamales at Christmas and on Saturdays at my
grandmotherŐs church, Our Lady of Guadalupe, in East Los Angeles.
My grandmother and other church ladies made tamales
every Saturday to sell after Sunday mass. I loved the process, the
ladies and the environment, the sales, and mostly learning how to
make them properly and well.
For the holidays, my mother and grandmother and all
the female hands we could gather would make the best tamales I have
ever had. Red pork chile, beef with red chile sauce, chicken verde,
green chile cheese, pineapple raisin, chicken sinaloa, and corn and
cheese. During the summer months when the Mexican dent corn was available,
my mother would make the fresh green corn tamales. My mother was a
master cook and made everything. Foods of every nationality, Mexican
of course, Italian, Chinese, French, Indian, Middle Eastern. She baked
breads and made candy, not to mention jams and jellies, cream brule,
every pie known to man, empanadas, challah, brioche, crepes, blintzes,
and of course, our beloved tamales. Have I missed anything?
Tamara and I started our tamale business in 1996 to
share our love of tamales with everyone. We have always loved tamales
and would go anywhere to buy and taste them. Too often, we were disappointed.
They were too hard, too dry, had too much masa and too little filling,
not enough sauce or flavor, or the filling was too dry. We loved tamales
so much that we didnŐt want to wait for the Christmas holidays or
celebrations to enjoy them. So, we made them whenever we wanted them
during the remainder of the year. We were also vegetarians for several
years and I started making vegetarian tamales for us. When our family
and friends tasted them, they all asked me to make more kinds with
meat and other ingredients. I began experimenting and creating most
of the tamales that are on our menu. Some were created after we started
the business. We actually tested them first, making them in my kitchen
and selling them to cast and crewmembers of various television and
motion picture companies. They were an immediate hit and Tamara and
I started looking for a commercial kitchen to make them in.
We envisioned the business to be very traditional, similar
to a donut shop. One would come in, buy a half dozen to a dozen, and
take them home, to the office or to a party, and eat them or keep
them in the fridge or freeze them. Well, our customers had other ideas
and our restaurant business grew out of the desires of our customers.
We make hundreds of tamales a day. Each and every tamale
is handmade fresh. Tamara prepares all the fillings and occasionally
I make some. Tamara has learned to cook all the ingredients in the
family tradition. The tamales themselves are assembled and steamed
by Tamaleras, the tamale ladies.
We make hundreds and thousands of tamales for special
orders, parties, weddings, other occasions, restaurants, hotels, caterers,
and of course, tamale lovers all over the US. We are presently pursuing
accounts with restaurant chains, health food stores, and large grocery
stores. All of our tamales are healthy, nutritional, fresh, and made
in the tradition of the "perfect" tamale - soft, moist masa, plenty
of filling and enough sauce to make the perfect balance. They are
steamed for the exact amount of time it takes to cook but not overcook,
and immediately transferred to trays and covered, where they cool
off to maintain their moistness. To us, overcooked tamale is too dry
and inedible. They are then boxed, labeled, and put into the refrigerator.
They are sold hot or cold.
The only tamale that we make and freeze immediately
is the fresh green corn tamale. This is due to the fact that we buy
the fresh corn on the cob directly from the fields in Mexico in very
large quantities and the whole amount of corn must be processed immediately
to maintain freshness. We defrost these tamales as needed.
The best way to eat tamales is to request the ones just
coming out of the steaming pots. This is the only way Tamara and I
eat our tamales. I guess you can say that we are spoiled! When special
orders are made we do our best to time the pickup of the order to
coincide with the tamales just coming out of the pots.
So, take that as a hint. When you want to have the very
best possible tamale experience, when you come in, ask the counter
person what tamales are just coming out of the steaming pots and buy
those and eat them while they are still hot! You will be so glad you