Stuffed Tamales with Sundried tomato

 

Stuffed Tamales

Stuffed Tamales

Recipe for 10 – 12 to serve 4 people

Allow 3 tamales per person. These were made as part of the Cuban menu.

Ingredients:

  • 250g coarse corn flour (40p)

    Tamales ingredients

    Tamales ingredients

  • 10 sundried tomato pieces (99p)
  • 12 fresh coriander leaves to decorate (10p)
  • Dry oregano
  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons Flavour oil (from sundried tomato jar)
  • 250ml boiling water
  • 2 table spoons self-rising flour
  • 1 fresh corn (37p)

Total spent: £1.86 or 46p per person. The only thing used on the fresh corn on this recipe are the leaves. The corn kernels will be used in another recipe.

Method:

Start by rinsing the coriander leaves and set aside. Carefully remove

Tamales ingredients

The corn and its outer leaves

one by one the outer leaves of the corn cob. Remove any extra “corn hair” rinse the leaves and flick out the water. The number of leaves on the corn cob can vary from 8-12…

Slice the pieces of sundried tomato in 2 – 3 to make them thinner. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, pour the corn flour, the self-rising flour, a pinch of salt and oregano. Mix all the dry elements together then, add the boiling water, the flavoured oil and knead the dough using a spatula until you obtain the consistency of a cookie dough.

packing the Tamales

packing the Tamales

Now lay flat all the corn leaves on a flat surface. On each leave, place 1 coriander leave, then top with the equivalent of 2 tablespoons full of corn dough. Flatten the dough on the corn leave and place on it 2-3 pieces of sundried tomato. Now bring together all the edges of the corn leave as if making a rolled cigarette. Fold the edge together and finish folding by over flapping both ends of the corn leaves.

You can either hold the parcel together with a tooth pick or simply put the parcel aside face down.

Repeat until all the parcels are done.

packing the Tamales

packing the Tamales

If you’ve got a steamer, use it to cook the tamales. If not, Place all the tamale parcels in an oven proof dish and place the dish in a big enough pan with a lid. Without a steamer, it is best to cook the tamales in a Bain Marie.

The idea here is that you will pour some water in the pan, making sure that none of it enters the heat proof dish containing the tamales. The water in the pan should be at about half the height of the dish within the pan. As water boils, it will produce enough heat to cook the tamales. For the size of the tamales made in the recipe, you should allow 20 minutes for them to be cooked through.

All packed

All packed

To check that the tamales are ready, they should be harder and if pricked with the tip of the knife, just like the test for a cake, the knife should come out dry. The secret is to keep the steam to the max in the pan. Make sure to top up the water as it dries out.

Tamales are great replacement for rice or potatoes. Feel free to deep fry the left-overs to give them a crispier outer layer…

They are to be eaten without the corn leaves obviously.

Ready to eat

Ready to eat

Note: Using corn leaves add to the taste of the Tamales. In the absence of corn leaves, use banana leaves (found in the local ethnic or Chinese supermarket) or simply kitchen foil.

See how I serve mine her with a Cuban Ropa Vieja.

Enjoy!

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Ropa Vieja – Cuban Shredded meat

Ropa Vieja in all its glory

Ropa Vieja in all its glory

Ropa Vieja – Shredded pork. Serves 4

Ingredients:

What you need for this dish

What you need for this dish

  • 1.500kg pork knuckle from Tuckers’ the butchers (£2.50)
  • 100g red onion
  • 3 medium sweet peppers (20p)
  • 2 x 400g peeled tomato tins (74p)
  • 1 grapefruit (30p)
  • 2 tablespoon tomato puree (tube costs 37p)
  • 130g black olives (69p)
  • Olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 scotch bonnet (chilli)

    Grapefruit peels and scotch bonnet

    Grapefruit peels and scotch bonnet

  • Black pepper
  • Cumin
  • 2 tablespoons malt vinegar
  • 1L vegetable stock

Total spent: £4.80 or £1.20 per person. For this dish, a piece of pork that will deliver long strings of meat when pulling a part. The knuckle had that. The best place to find such a piece of meat on a budget would be at the local butcher. The pepper was bought at the fruits & veges market. Had 15 peppers for £1.00 and only used 3.

Method:

Unwrap and wash the meat and make 3 to 4 deep scoring on it. Peel and dice onion and garlic. Rinse and cut the peppers (red, yellow & green). Remove the olives from the jar and rise. Peel the skin off the grapefruit and cut it (the skin) in strings… This will add a hint of bitterness to the dish. Set the prepared ingredients aside separately.

Sealed meat

Sealed meat

In a dip sauce pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil with a hand full of onion, then seal the meat on all sides for about 1 minute each. Once the meat has been sealed, pour on it the stock and add garlic, cumin, scotch bonnet, black pepper, grapefruit peels, vinegar and cover the pan. Leave the meat to cook until it falls off the bone. An hour and half to 2 hours should suffice for the meat to fall off the bone.

Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.

In the sauce pan still on heat, add the content of 2 x 400g tomato and 2 tablespoons tomato puree. Stir, taste and adjust the seasoning. Cover to simmer for 20 minutes. Don’t forget to stir from time to time to

Pulling the meat apart

Pulling the meat apart

avoid the sauce sticking to the bottom of the pan. We are looking here for the tomato to cook through and for at least ¾ of the liquid coming from the tomato to evaporate.

Meanwhile, pull the meat apart, make it as stringing as possible. Discard the skin, bones and fat. All with need for the dish is the red meat… Set aside until the tomato sauce is ready.

Back to the tomato sauce. After the 20 minutes, add the now shredded

Pulled pork

Pulled pork

meat in the tomato with the olives, the cut mix peppers and the rest of onion. Mix well, taste and cover and allow to simmer for another 10 minutes. Done.

Serve with Pure white rice or Tamales. I served mine with both to provide a choice of accompaniment.

Check out the Tamales recipe in the next post.

Serving suggestion with white rice or Tamales

Serving suggestion with white rice or Tamales

See the starter from this menu here.

Listen to the podcast of the radio show here broadcasted on Croydon radio.

 

Fried plantain & Ginger butter beans

My Cuban starter

My Cuban starter

Fried plantain & Ginger butter beans served with flash fried cherry tomato & a coriander avocado chilli salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 250g butter beans (1 small tin 31p)
  • 1 garlic clove

    The essential ingredients

    The essential ingredients

  • 3 cherry tomatoes (10p)
  • 30g red onion
  • 1 ready to eat avocado (45p)
  • Lettuce (10p)
  • Handful of fresh coriander
  • 10g fresh ginger (10p)
  • Dry thyme
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Chilli flakes (optional)
  • Olive oil
  • Plantain (40p)
  • 1 lime (29p)

Total spent: £1.75 or 0.44p per person. The cherry tomato was found in LIDL at 49p for a box of 15 units. The eating avocado cost 0.89p for 2 and as for the lettuce, I only used 5 big leave worth about 10p. The whole lettuce cost 37pThe rest of the shopping will be used for other dishes during the week. The plantain can generally be bought at 3 to 5 units for £1. I only bought 1 plantain as I did not have use for more.

Method:

The prep

The prep

Start by draining and rinsing the beans. Set aside. Dice the garlic, onion and 1 cherry tomato. Peel and grate the ginger, then cut in 4 each the other 2 of the cherry tomatoes (you should have 8 tomato wedges altogether).

1) Flash fry the quartered cherry tomatoes: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil add 1 pinch of salt, thyme and the tomato. Toss fry for 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside in a bowl for later.

The ginger butter beans

The ginger butter beans

2) Cook the beans in ginger: In the same frying pan, add and heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the diced onion and fry for a minute. Add the beans and grated ginger. Stir, add salt and pepper as well as 200ml water then cover to simmer for 20 minutes. This will allow the beans to soften and really absorb the flavours. All the water to evaporate, but to not let the pan dry as we need the bean to be slightly wet.

3) Fry the plantain: The ideal frying plantain should be uniformly

Raw plantain

Raw plantain

yellow with both end still slightly green. When fried it will still be just sweet enough and firm. A very ripe plantain tends to be too sweet, absorbs a lot of oil and can be very sticky.

So, peel the plantain and cut it as on the picture on the right, about 1cm thick each. A whole plantain should provide about 10-12 slices.

The plantain can be fried in a chip pan with a lot of oil. If using this option, heat the oil as if for French fires, then drop the plantain pieces in and allow to fry and brown all over or 2 minutes an half.

Fried plantain... perfect brown

Fried plantain… perfect brown

If you do not have a chip pan, just us a frying pan, and pour in about 200ml of vegetable oil. Allow the oil to really heat up, then carefully place the pieces of plantain in one single layer. Fry each side for 1 minute or minute and a half, then turn over to do the same for the other side. If the fire is too high, the plantain will burn. Turn down the heat if necessary and continue. If the heat is too low, the plantain will absorb too much oil. Not ideal.

Plantain topped with Ginger butter beans & flash fried cherry tomato

Plantain topped with Ginger butter beans & flash fried cherry tomato

Which event method you choose to fry the plantain, once the plantain is fried, remove from oil, place on absorbing tissue and lightly dust with salt.

I served the plantain topped with the ginger butter beans and the flash fried cherry tomato all held with a tooth pick… with an avocado, coriander and chilli flakes salad.

4) Making the green salad: select the greenest leaves of the lettuce, wash them individually under the tap and roughly cut them. Do the same for the handful of fresh coriander.

Lettuce, coriander, avocado, lime & chilli flakes

Lettuce, coriander, avocado, lime & chilli flakes

Mix both in a salad bowl and sprinkle with chilli flakes. Just before serving, drizzle with olive oil and serve with slices of avocado and lime wedges as no vinaigrettes will be needed.

This starter could be great for a very Cuban brunch… add some barbecue chicken wings and fermented, radishes and green beans…

I had fun putting this together. Hope you will too. Do post your comments.

Tuck in!

Tuck in!

In the next post you will be able to see the main from this menu. The Ropa Vieja with Sundried Tamales…

See recipes in the next post - Tamale & Ropa Vieja

See recipes in the next post – Tamale & Ropa Vieja

Off to Cuba!

Hey ever heard of Santana?… If you’re between 35-45 you should have… Santana was all I knew about Cuba until 10 days ago…Hear Santana and his guitar here ignore the singers… Just the guitar (genius)!

Holla Ombre e Senora, buenos tardes !

If you were listening on 18th July, you would have heard Tom saying that he will be bringing a dessert for the show we are doing tomorrow…

He is bringing a Cuban dessert. Not sure what that going to be… I CANNOT stand uncooked desserts like cheese cakes and the likes and I really hope it is something that my face and my mouth would appreciate… Unfortunately for me, my face tends to speak for me even when I don’t want to say what I think.

So, Tom Cuban dessert prompted me to explore Cuban food which

Just in case you are wondering, here what the flag looks like!

Just in case you are wondering, here what the flag looks like!

turned out to be very educational read-up about the Cubans, their origins and colonial past… All that reflected in their food. I will do my best to interpret it as I understood it. I didn’t really want to copy a recipe and the WIKI page was very very helpful https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_cuisine.

So the menu I came out with reflects their African origins where the old slaves came from, the Spanish origins for their colonial past and then, the West Indies which they are often referred to as despite being South Americans. Cuban speak Spanish… Of course. Duhhh!

Since we are cooking on a budget, I sadly had to avoid fish stuff as my £10.00 would have been very quickly spent.

The menu is as follows:

Ripe, but firm plantain, still has traces of green

Ripe, but firm plantain, still has traces of green

Starters:

Fried plantain & Ginger butter beans with avocado and Lime

Main:

Ropa Vieja (old clothes) with black olives and sweet peppers served with something cooked in fresh corn leaves.

I will just be using the corn leaves here... this is what fresh corn looks like. All dressed up.

I will just be using the corn leaves here… this is what fresh corn looks like. All dressed up.

Do tune in to hear what we’ve both cooked and do come back here to see the recipe next week.

Thank you for checking in! And remember a recipe is only a suggestion… you do not have to stick to it. JUST EXPLORE and have fun!

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Here it is! Listen to the show’s podcast from here.

The Cuban Feast!

The Cuban Feast!