Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hands On Tamale Making Class at Ortega 120 (Redondo Beach)

I LOVE tamales but I have a hard time to find ones that are just right for me. I want them filled with things I like, for example I'm always looking for a blue corn tamale but the ones here are usually only filled with cheese. So, when Ortega 120 offered me to attend one of their tamale making class, I thought it sounded fun. The tamale class is only held in December since tamales are apparently a holiday tradition. The chef said that his family would always say that way you will always have something to unwrap for Christmas!

The hands-on tamale class was completely full (and they were all women, which was kind of expected)
The $40 class also includes a glass of their house margarita and food 
Ortega has their own masa, made with Canola oil so it's healthier but still moist. You can buy their masa to go at the restaurant, or you can also buy traditional masa at Mexican bakeries. They had prepared the masa for us and the filling which included chicken and beef tinga, chili and cheese. They provided the recipes for these fillings, but during the class all we had to do was assemble them.
Spreading the masa on the corn husk was harder than I expected at first, since you don't want it to be too thick, though eventually I got used to it.

Then put the filling that you want ...

and fold it over.

The tamales were then steamed for about an hour, and we had our dinner while we wait. Two tacos with a nice, thick tortilla. The chicken was pretty spicy! I thought the beef was definitely the better of the two since it was much more tender than the chicken and that would be the case with my tamales too.
Demi, one of the co-owner and the one in charge of the bar, showed us how to make a couple of cocktails while we wait. The first was easy and dangerous - which was just to shake the alcohol of your choice with some preserves or marmalade (anything but grape since apparently that one doesn't work so well). It's pretty  much all alcohol but sweet and too easy to drink. We also had their Espicy Mango which was inspired by the chili mango Chupa Chups of her childhood.
Churros with chocolate sauce ended our night and our bags of tamales were distributed.
In the end, I made eight tamales and had been eating them for lunch!
I thought I did pretty well assembling them, if I do say so myself! The masa was indeed pretty moist and the ones filled with the tender beef tinga were great!
The tamale class is only held in December so there is only one class left this coming Wednesday on December 19! If you're interested in attending, call 310 792 4120 to make your reservation.


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