Bungalows Nestled Withing the Rainforest
A tamale is a typical Central American dish made of ground up corn, vegetables and meat. Every country prepares their tamales in a slightly different manner: in Mexico, for example, tamales are wrapped in corn husks and boiled. On the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica, however, locals often wrap tamales in hojas de banano (banana leaves) or hojas de bijagua (a species of plant found on the Osa Peninsula with large, broad leaves).
The making of tamales is a very time consuming Costa Rican tradition usually performed during Christmas and New Years. When making tamales, corn is either physically ground up to make a flour-like substance or Masa Rica, a premade corn flour, is used. Huge wood-burning fires are created to cook the large pot of masa, while ingredients such as puerco (pork), pollo (chicken), cebollas (onions), ajo (garlic), chiles and zanahorias (carrots) are often chopped up and prepared ahead of time. Salsa Lizano, a favorite Costa Rican sauce, is always added as well. When the masa has cooked for an hour or two, each tamale is prepared and wrapped up in an hoja individually. Two tamales are usually tied together to create a piña, or pair, and are then boiled.
Tamales are usually eaten straight off the the hoja and are served for breakfast, lunch and dinner depending on when all tamales have been finished!. Additionally, tamales are sent to family, friends and neighbors as a sign of friendship and love. They are truly a typical Costa Rican favorite!