Traditional Nicaraguan nacatamales make an excellent Sunday breakfast that will surprise most people due to their large size – almost 10 ounces.
A proper nacatamal is large, always wrapped in banana leaves, and has an ultra-fine corn dough. It's usually filled with pork or chicken in adobo sauce, a bit of rice, a slice of potato and tomato, a stem of mint, raisins, prunes, olives, peanuts, chili peppers and pieces of pork jowl.
According to custom, this dish is accompanied by bread and café con leche, but the type of drink served can vary according to the occasion.
Some cooks add puréed potato to the dough, to give it body and volume. In recent years, vegetarian nacatamales and other interesting versions have become available as well.
What's certain is that Nicaraguans love their nacatamales, and don't only enjoy them at home, but at fiestas and celebrations also. For these occasions it's normal that mini nacatalmales are served; made with the same fillings, just smaller. This cocktail-sized appetizer can be specially pre-ordered in advance or made at home. If hand-made, the family will usually help out to make the work go faster, since preparation for these tamales starts at least 24 hours in advance.
Hopefully this recipe will motivate you to try preparing these nacatamales–it's an intense job, but can be shared by the whole family. So why not put your hands to work and enjoy the preparation!
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