Making Tamales At Capella Pedregal In Mexico

Capella Pedregal may be known as one of the best spa resorts in the world, an honor given to it by Travel & Leisure and Conde Nast, but executive chef Yvan Mucharraz want to make sure it's also known for its food. In addition to providing interesting creations for the hotel's restaurants, he's available for private cooking lessons.

Most often customers ask for ceviche cooking classes, but since I'm allergic to seafood, that wasn't going to work. He suggested tamales and I was thrilled. I love tamales and always wanted to learn more about them.

Chef Mucharraz, who trained in Napa at French Laundry with Thomas Keller before moving back to Mexico, was all ready when I arrived at the private kitchen area of Capella's Don Manuel Restaurant. He told us a bit about the heritage of tamales as a cheap meal for Mexicans through the years. I didn't realize that they were also often sold on street carts throughout the country.

Although I had only had pork tamales in the States and sweet corn ones once in Mazatlan, Mucharraz explained that the tamales can be filled with your choice of chicken, beef, pork or vegetables. It's more about the outside than the filling when it comes to this Mexican dish.

He showed us how to roll together the corn flour dough with our hands and then flatten it for the fillings. While we sipped cocktails, he spread the chicken filling on the tamales. He then also made one with peppers, onions and tomatoes.

I was surprised to learn how easy it is to steam the tamales, whether or not they are inside a corn husk (the only way I had previously seen them made).

Chef Mucharraz likes to serve his tamales with salsa ranchera and tomatillo salsa so we had a lesson on putting that together in a few quick minutes.

The tamales were delicious and I will definitely be making them at home soon, experimenting with different fillings. 

To learn how to make your own tamales, click here for the Capella Pedregal Tamales Recipe.