In Oaxaca, any day is a good day to prepare tamales. And there is a great variety depending on the region and what the community itself produces. According to the cooks, the preparation of tamales does not require sophisticated preparations, and the great recipes, if there are any, are usually few and are reserved for celebratory occasions. Generally for the town's religious festival, or for a wedding or baptism.

The cooking of modest recipes usually results in a healthier diet, with less presence of chemicals or products of industrial origin, such as artificial flavorings or preservatives. For example, tamales made from grasshoppers, beans with avocado leaves, or certain wild plants, such as amaranth, which have a high protein content.

In Oaxaca, tamales are prepared with the following moles: black, yellow, green, coloradito, and chichilo, one of the least known, in whose preparation the black chihuacle is used; endemic chile of Oaxaca, in danger of extinction. This is one of the states with the greatest variety of tamales.

Tamal de hoja de milpa y coquitos (corn husk tamale and coquitos)

The preparation of tamalitos, like other dishes, is a creative process that combines many elements: food, environment, and even climate. It is a process that involves rites, prayers, and legends. In the Zapotec indigenous community of the Valles Centrales region, tamales are prepared wrapped in milpa leaves, which are picked fresh when the ear of corn barely emerges.

These tamales are made as if they were tortillas, a stew such as a mole coloradito or ground beans with avocado grass is put in the middle, then they are wrapped to form a small rectangle, and wrapped with the milpa leaf. Then they are cooked in the tamalera pot. They are extremely aromatic.

In this town, they also prepare "coquito" tamales, where the dry corn leaf, or totomoxtle, is transformed into a small casserole to hold a portion of the stew made with pork and viseras. The cazuelita or coquitose is formed by tying the ends of the totomoxtle leaf with strips of the same leaf. The preparation of the stew also includes corn dough.

Tamales de tichinda

On the Oaxacan coast, tamales are made that are not easily found in the conventional menu of restaurants that feed tourists; tichinda are tiny clams that are perfectly washed before being used in the kitchen.  The tichinda is a variety of clam and are found among the maglares. It is a tamale native to the black towns of Oaxaca. The tamale dough is made with coastal chiles, guajillo, garlic, and onion, and then the tichindas, lard, and hierba santa are added.

They are tamales that have a seafood flavor, they are very rich, but they are not recognized; people prefer fish and shrimp tamales. When they are cooked, the clams open and take out their juice, which is what gives flavor to the dough, explained Roberta, who once prepared these tamales for the masters of Mexican painting, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

Iguana tamales

In the municipality of Matías Romero, Constanza Cruz Gutiérrez, prepares iguana tamales during the Holy Week vigil, "although any date is good to taste them, especially between February and May when the iguanas roam among the branches of the backyard trees and the hot streets of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region".

In an interview, she recommended preferably looking for a female iguana, loaded with eggs.

The iguana's neck is broken, and then it is placed on the fathoms to remove the skin. Afterward, the guts are removed and the eggs are set aside. It is recommended to use lemon when washing it. The meat is cut into pieces and then prepared in a mole, seasoned with pumpkin seeds and masa, to thicken it. The dough is spread on banana leaf squares and the sauce is distributed and then the filling (iguana meat with an egg); then it is wrapped to obtain a rectangle shape. The flavor of iguana meat is similar to that of chicken.

Source: Oro Radio