Tamales Rajas at the market

Both tamales and Zongzi, Chinese leave-wrapped dumplings, involve wrapping a filling in leaves and then cooking them, usually by steaming or boiling. Tamales are typically made with a corn-based dough (masa) and can be filled with meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, or chilies. They are traditionally wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves. Zongzi, on the other hand, uses glutinous rice as its base and may include fillings like pork, beans, or salted duck eggs, wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves.

Rajas, meaning ‘strips’ in Spanish, refers to strips of chili pepper, often Poblano, which are a staple in Mexican cuisine. Tamales Rajas combine these chili strips with cheese, wrapped in a corn masa dough, and steamed in a corn husk. The result is a delicious, slightly spicy treat, balancing the richness of the cheese with the subtle heat of the peppers.

Tamales are often associated with celebrations like the Day of the Dead and Christmas in Latin America, while Zongzi is traditionally eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival in China, commemorating the poet Qu Yuan.

Still not a super big fan of tamales, onto something else!