Guatemalan Tamales

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

I sampled my first rice tamal last week. It reminded me of Biba's slogan, "one's a meal." The soft glutinous ground rice was stuffed with chicken and salsa and garnished with green pepper and a raisin. I had it for breakfast with a cup of coffee and a little extra pepper sauce. The Guatemalan woman who gave it to me told me she made four kinds of tamales -- masa, rice, potato and sweet corn. She sells these giant tamales to friends for $2.50 each.

There are hundreds of varieties of tamales in Guatamala including red tamales (with achiote), black tamales (with chocolate) and sweet dessert tamales, usually made with sweet corn or elote and fruits or nuts. Tamales flavored with chepil (chiplin) and lorocco are also common.

There is a joke in Guatemala about an American eating a banana leaf-wrapped tamale for the first time. "It tasted great, but the lettuce sure was chewy," is the clueless gringo's punch line.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.