The history of tamales dates back to the Mayans and the Aztecs – they served them as portable food for soldiers, hunters, and travelers. The history of people can be told in a tamal.

A tamalada (tamal-making party) is a traditional Mexican event where groups of family and friends get together to assemble tamales. Tamal making can be labor intensive, however not difficult to make. A tamalada can help you out in the process, and the rewards…everyone takes home tamales and wonderful memories.

To make hosting less stressful assign a few guests to bring filling options and/or an appetizer to share, and you take care of making the masa (tamal dough), soaking the corn husks, and making some drinks.

The possible fillings for tamales are endless. Here are a few of my favorites: red chile and lamb is exotic, savory, and spicy; zucchini and corn is a simple vegetarian filling; and mango is a delicious choice for dessert tamales.

Demonstrate how to make the first tamal and then have your guests roll up their sleeves and take part in the filling and the wrapping. As these little bundles steam and fill the house with fantastic aromas, your guests can snack on appetizers and drink a hot cup of champurrado or toast with poinsettia punch.

Once the tamales are cooked it is time to feast. Freshly steamed tamales are fun to open and eat making them the perfect party food. A tamalada is as much about cooking together as it is about eating together. Making tamales is more than sharing food; you are creating memories that will last a lifetime. And that’s one great packaged deal.

I’m hoping my video and these tips will inspire you to host a tamalada and make tamales at home.

Be sure to check out the published Muy Bueno cookbook for more tamal recipes.

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Written by Yvette  / Photo by Jeanine Thurston