tamales in winter

i’m going to try and resuscitate this site. wish myself luck. almost a year without a peep from me* and to be honest i haven’t missed it much. we’ve had a kind of rough 2014, ups and downs and downs and downs but we must turn the page and start out new and fresh and look forward to a bright and sparkling year. yey.
today is my babybaobao’s 9th birthday and i’ll be making us a cake and giving him a special toy and treats, but for now i just want to record how i made tamales, Filipino style. we don’t call it tamale in singular form, always it is tamales. though it is similar in name to the Mexican snack made of corn masa and fillings, wrapped in corn husks, it is really more like the Chinese zhong or jong with rice, pork, dried shrimp, etc. wrapped in lotus leaves. i’ve been wanting to make it for so long–a bit of nostalgia for the snack my Ma and i bought from a vendor at a rest stop in Pampanga 4 years ago. the rice and coconut and peanut flavors are really out of this world. mine came out rather nice. but i would still like to go back with my Ma to Pampanga.

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just out of the steamer

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toast jasmine rice
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grind toasted rice very finely
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deep fry garlic, strain out of oil, deep fry the skinned raw peanuts; chop peanuts
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achuete seeds and soaking water added to a bit of the garlic and peanut flavored oil; scoop out achuete seeds
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toasted rice flour and coconut milk added to achuete infused oil
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set up for assembly (i really enjoyed this part!)
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slices of ham, cooked chicken, dried roasted pork, chorizo, salted duck egg
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don’t forget the chopped peanuts
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another piece of the “masa” to cover the fillings
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wrap up securely with softened banana leaves–it’s important to do this so that the water doesn’t seep through into the fillings
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steamed for about 45 minutes or so, before “unboxing”

*i’m toying with the idea of filling in the blanks from 2014 so i can have an archive of the best eats my family and i had. remembering is iffy, my head is frail :) and it’s nicer to see them here in my poor old baby rambutan.