Soul Food

It means different things to different people.  My people are of French-Canadian stock and think of Tortierre and Maple butter on fresh homemade bread.  For my partner, whose family is from Nicauragua, it’s Nacatamales.

How to Make the Perfect Nacatamales went to California for Christmas a couple years ago and had traditional Nicaraguan Nacatamales on Christmas eve.  Every culture has their traditional foods, so I could relate to the significance of the Nacatamale.  What’s more, as someone who loves to cook, I could see the skill needed to make such a delightful package.  Challenge accepted.

This past Christmas, I set about the serious business of making Nacatamales.  Not just any Nacatamales, but the very best ones I possibly could.

Mission accomplished.

Here’s how I did it.

I started with the dough

I added the following to a pot, cooking on high and stirring constantly:

5 cups white MASECA®
6 Cloves of garlic
12 ounces Butter
2 cups Milk
¼ cup Orange juice

Once the batter was cooked and no longer sticking to the pot, I removed it from the heat.

The Meat

Here’s where I cheated a little.  I took a large package of pork seasoned and marinated for fajitas (which you can find in any HEB grocery store here in San Antonio) and cut the meat into small cubes.  I placed them all in a large frying pan and cooked thoroughly before draining the liquid.

Then I Prepared the Filling:

4 Tomatoes, sliced
1 Medium Onion, sliced
1 Green Pepper, sliced
1 Package Dried Pineapple Pieces
1 cup Uncooked rice (soaked in water overnight)


These were easy.  The market down the street sells Banana leaves in their frozen food section.

I cut the Banana leaves into 5″ wide strips and got a ball of hemp twine ready for wrapping.

Building the Perfect Nacatamale

Once I had everything laid out and ready for production, I started building the nacatamales, one at a time, with all the care and love one should when making soul food.  Follow the photos and you can’t go wrong.

When you’ve assembled them all, steam in a tamale pot for 2 hours and Voila!