Tamal Making in Teotitlan del Valle

With stunning views of the Sierra Madres in the distance, I was about to learn the art of tamale making in Teotitlan del Valle, a short distance from the city of Oaxaca, Mexico.
Classic tamales from Teotitlan are made in banana leaves with a thin coating of masa and fresh manteca, or pork lard. Their distinct thinness makes them easy to eat in multiples. I like to call them session tamales!
The masa is smooth and clean tasting, made from pure grain corn grown in the village and cooked in nixtamal.

Our cook, Eliosa Lazo Montano, demonstrated how she makes the fresh masa the right consistency by beating it with her hands – a traditional technique.
Freshly rendered manteca (lard) with a delicate roasty-ness is added along with some light chicken stock. More beating ensues until the mixture is the consistency akin to cake batter.
Go Eloisa!
We are allowed to choose our weapons for spreading.
A thin layer of masa.
Chicken and mole.
Fold in one side, then the other.

Ends folded up.

Ready for the steamer.
Beautiful and light tasting, with a delicate sweetness and even chile heat provided by the mole, these are some of the most exquisite tamales in all of Mexico.

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