Home, Lifestyle, Thoughts

How can two months disappear?

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The answer is easy: be as busy as you can.

These past two months have been crazy. So many things have happened and sometimes I’ve felt like a robot who is just doing everything on automatic pilot. I’ve tried not to overheat and not stress too much because everybody knows what happens when you do that. All the things that have happened have been nice things, but in order for nice things to happen you need to struggle a bit (or a lot).

But we all need some busy times to appreciate our “normal life”. I guess the definition of normal varies from person to person, but for me it’s that kind of life where I actually have time to think about what I’m doing and not just do things without thinking. Having a lifestyle where you can take your time to think about things may sound luxurious to many people but I believe it’s necessary to be fine with yourself, and I’d really recommend it to everyone. It’s very important because if you only go full speed forward and never stop to think, I feel that you lose your focus easily. What happens to me when there is a lot going on is that I start to focus on little things. For example I start convincing myself that cleaning is the number one priority even though that’s a big lie. You can clean later, there’s no cleaning police behind you.

So why am I talking about cleaning?

The biggest change is that we moved to a new apartment. I had a very ambitious plan to clean all our floors in a way that we don’t have to wear shoes at home and now the project is finished and I couldn’t be happier! That’s one thing I really missed from Finland. When I lived in Finland the best moment of the day was when I was able to leave my sweaty shoes at the entrance. I believe that now that the summer is here and the temperature is rising from day to day, nothing feels better than walking barefoot. Also the cleaning part in the future will be a lot easier. 😀

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When I was packing and cleaning I realised that this kind of lifestyle where you don’t own that many things is amazing. Most of the apartments that people rent here in Barcelona are already furnished and that makes everything a lot easier and more ecological. If you compare it to Finland (of course there’s furnished apartments in Finland but it’s not that common) here you don’t have to buy everything for your new apartment and rent a van to move your furniture around. It’s madness to start selling and buying your furniture all over again many times across the years. I know some people see themselves reflected in the things that they own and that the spirit of the apartment comes from what they’ve bought but I also believe that you can get used to everything that comes with a furnished apartment. Maybe in the beginning it doesn’t feel like it’s your home and you feel like the things around you are not completely your style but after a while I’m sure you will get used to things around you. I also think that we were lucky to have a furnished apartment so we were able to move most of our things by bike. We had to use a taxi ride only once. How convenient!

Moving to a new place is always stressful and I’m really glad that now we have a bigger apartment to do things. When you live in a small room, you don’t have that many options to do and you prefer to spend your time somewhere else rather than at home. I’ve been living many years in small rooms and I can tell that this is very refreshing. You can actually move your arms around freely and do all kinds of activities, like exercising in your living room. Simple things that probably many people take for granted. Don’t take it for granted, use your space when you have it.

All that I can say is: it feels good to have a home.

– Eeva

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Food, Recipes

BREAD – easy and delicious

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Homemade bread. I love it so much.

Bread is wonderful as it is and I don’t know if there’s anything better than freshly baked bread with butter. This recipe is super simple and I’m sure you will easily succeed. Originally this recipe is from here but I’ve changed it a bit.

Bread

  • 5 dl of water (500ml)
  • 2 bags of dry yeast (14g)
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • ½ tablespoon of salt
  • 13 dl of flour (about 850g)
  • ½ dl of olive oil (50ml)

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First mix together all the dry ingredients: dry yeast, sugar and salt with 1 cup of flour.

Then, you need to heat up your water, in most recipes they say that the water should be hand warm but that’s not accurate. To make the dough rise properly the water should be a bit hot. Hot in a way that you can still put your hand in and it won’t burn you or “kill” the yeast but you don’t want to leave your hand in either. 😀 Proceed to put in your dry ingredient mixture, start mixing with a spoon and adding flour. Then add some olive oil and continue mixing with your hand, be sure to add small amounts of flour while mixing.

Your dough is ready when it looks like on the right side, it should take around 5 to 10 minutes. It’s important that you mix the dough well. Leave the dough to rise for 40 minutes. I always leave the dough to rise inside the microwave (remind people around you to not turn it on). 😉

After 40 minutes, take the dough out and knead it well. I’d recommend to punch the dough violently to get a better consistency (it’s also a perfect way to release stress).

When the dough is not that sticky anymore you can form pieces of bread. Leave them rise at least 15 minutes under a cloth, the longer the time the bigger they become but I would recommend not to leave them more than 45 minutes rising. Then put them in the oven for 15 min in 225°C.

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Your bread is ready!

Enjoy the bread with butter or whatever you like. I’d recommend you to make molletes, they are delicious!!

– Eeva –

 

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Badalona, Barcelona, Montgat, Thoughts, Travelling

MONTGAT – and some thoughts about travelling

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During our Easter holiday we decided to go on a little trip to Montgat. Montgat is a little town about 16km away from Barcelona. The road there is simple: you just have to follow the coastline. Barcelona is a great city for bikers and they are building new bike lines all the time. The weather in Barcelona is sunny most of the year so it’s optimal for biking. If you ever travel to Barcelona I recommend you to explore it by bike.

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I’ve lived in Barcelona now for almost two years and I’m a bit ashamed that I don’t know much about towns that are close to Barcelona. My resolution for the year 2018 was that I have to explore Barcelona’s outskirts more. There are so many places to see and little villages to visit. For a long time I’d been so focused on travelling far that I’d forgotten to focus on my surroundings. When I lived in Finland I was always planning the next trip and constantly dreaming about new places to go. I was waiting for the next holiday to be able to travel and go somewhere else. Moving to Barcelona changed my travelling habits and for the first time I realised that I didn’t even want to go anywhere.

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It’s important to love the city you live in. Previously I thought that it was normal to have this feeling where you constantly wanted to be somewhere else. I’m not saying that I don’t want to travel anymore because that’s a lie but let’s say I’m a lot more relaxed about it. That has a lot to do with the fact that I love the city I live in now, it’s very relieving to realise that you don’t need to escape anymore. 😀 This time instead of planning the next trip we packed our backpacks went biking..

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.. and it really did work out!

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I enjoyed our day trip so much. The weather was beautiful and the hill we stopped at was totally worth visiting. The road to Montgat was very nice and interesting because you see the modern side of Barcelona and also go trough the beautiful boulevard in Badalona. I had this feeling like I was far away from Barcelona and even though you might love the place you are in, it’s normal to want to disconnect for a moment. In the evening I was happy to bike back home without passing any airport security checks or sweating in a metro.

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Boulevard in Badalona

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So whenever you feel like you want to be somewhere else or your next holiday feels like a distant dream, do a day trip. Pack some food and go somewhere near where you still haven’t been. After that if you still feel like you need to leave, maybe you can think about buying plane tickets, but at least give it a try. 😀

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I would definitely bike to Montgat again and I’m sure at least we will sit in the boulevard in Badalona. The reason why I even wanted to go there was that I’d heard that there were a lot of cats everywhere but this time we didn’t see any! I have to say that I was looking forward to seeing the cats but even without cats the day trip was successful. 😀

– Eeva –

 

 

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Barcelona, Music

SOUNDEAT

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Two weekends ago we went to see “Chaos in the CBD” and “Detroit Swindle” in this event called SoundEat. It’s located in Parc del Forum. The place is perfect for this kind of event, it’s a big open space with a massive roof. We weren’t that lucky with the weather though, 7 degrees and cold rain is not the nicest if you want to be outside, but luckily the roof took care of us and the atmosphere was great!

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We arrived at around 5 pm and my personal favourites, Chaos in the CBD, had just started playing, their set was amazing and so much fun!! Everybody was dancing and there were smiley faces everywhere. If you ever have a chance to see them DJ, you should go! They play a mix of deep house, disco and techno. They played for two hours and after we finished we caught half an hour of Detroit Swindle but since the weather was so bad we decided to leave early, everyone was also pretty hungry after all the dancing. 🙂

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I tried to take some nice pictures to capture the atmosphere and feeling of the evening. The event was well organised and the sound was very good, so in that sense I can really recommend SoundEat. Sometimes you have a great set of artists but then the sound is not good and you can’t enjoy the event at its fullest. Another positive thing is that it starts early and it finishes at a reasonable hour (from 1 pm to 10 pm), so you don’t have to spend the whole night outside.

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The best thing about early events is that you still have time to continue the evening with your friends. After the event we went to eat in one of our favourite restaurants “Capitol de Vietnam”. If you are a fan of Vietnamese food, this is a place for you. The service is very good and fast, the food is a heaven on earth and the prices are decent (there will be a post about this place later on). I don’t know if I’m getting old but this kind of evening is just perfect. The older you get it’s more difficult to stay up late and if you do so, the next day you can’t function at all. 😀

Looking forward to more day events and music!

– Eeva –

 

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Food, Mexican food, Recipes

ENCHILADAS

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“Enchiladas”, they are so tasty! Years ago I didn’t know much about REAL Mexican food, I had a vague idea of what “enchiladas” were, mainly through Tex-Mex food in Finnish restaurants. Also, I didn’t know many types of tortillas existed. I thought that the only type of “Tortillas” that you could get were big wheat tortillas from the supermarket (the terrible Old El Paso brand is a good example) and I didn’t know that corn tortillas existed. Another shameful confession is that I thought tortillas and tacos were the same thing! 😀

There are many other things that I didn’t know about Mexico but let’s focus on these amazing authentic “enchiladas”.

INGREDIENTS

  • Authentic Corn Tortillas (if you know any Mexican people it’s a good idea to ask them where they buy their tortillas)

For the chicken

  • 500 grams of chicken breast
  • 1/2 of a medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 5 cups of water
  • 3 cubes of chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A hint of olive oil

For the “Salsa Verde”

  • 32 whole “Tomatillos” they can either be fresh or from a can. (we used La Costeña brand)
  • 1/2 of a medium onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 10 chiles anchos (you can also use jalapenos or serranos)
  • Maggi seasoning sauce to taste (optional)
  • 1 cube of vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

+ cheese, avocado and creme fraiche (you can also add raw onion and coriander as a topping if desired)

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I recommend to start off with the chicken. Pour five cups of water in a pot and add the broth, chicken, onion and garlic cloves, set the burner to maximum heat. Once it boils bring the heat down to medium and continue boiling for 30 minutes.

While the chicken is boiling prepare the “salsa verde”. Put the chiles, onion and garlic on a pan and grill over medium heat, chiles are usually done pretty quickly so remove them after a minute or so, it’s important that they don’t get burnt. The onion and the garlic should be left until charred (partially burned).

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Put the garlic, onion and chiles in the blender.

We used whole canned “Tomatillos” so there was no need to grill them, however, if you get fresh ones remove the outer coating, wash thoroughly and grill them along with the other ingredients. Another thing worth mentioning is that if you don’t tolerate spicy food you should only add one or two chiles, the ten chiles that we added gave it moderately spicy taste.

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Put one cube of broth in the blender with the other ingredients.

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Blend everything and your salsa is almost ready.

Put some oil in the pot, heat it up for 5 minutes at medium heat and pour your salsa in. Boil it 10 to 15 minutes or until you obtain a thicker consistency.

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We used corn tortillas from a shop called “La Reina de las Tortillas” here in Barcelona. It’s very important that you use authentic corn tortillas for the “enchiladas”.

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Fry the tortillas on a pan from both sides. If you see some bubbles popping up on your tortilla, like in the picture above, it’s ready to be flipped.  Try to fry each side for 45 seconds at most.

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Put the fried tortillas on paper towels in order to dry them.

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Shred the boiled chicken with two forks as above.

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Put some chicken on the fried tortilla.

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Fold the tortillas as in the picture above.

Put some cheese on “enchiladas” and add the hot “salsa verde” on top of the cheese so that the cheese melts.

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Finally put some avocado and creme fraiche on top and your delicious “enchiladas” are ready to be eaten!

These “enchiladas” are amazing! I love “salsa verde” so for me all the Mexican food that includes “salsa verde” makes me cry. I remember the first time I tried “salsa verde” on “chilaquiles” and I couldn’t believe what I was tasting. This recipe is very traditional and I’m sure everybody will love it! I’m still amazed every time I eat it. 🙂

– Eeva –

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Barbecue, Barcelona, Food

BARBECUE

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I have to admit that I had never been that into barbecues until I met my Mexican friends. I can count with one hand how many times I’ve been grilling food in Finland. Usually we just walk into woods and heat sausages on a campfire. Mexicans (or at least the ones I know :D) are professionals when it comes to barbecues. An interesting mix of meat, onions, sausages and more importantly “salsas” were the key to success. Also the beautiful weather we had added an extra flavorful touch to our already amazing food!

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Our friend’s rooftop is barbecue heaven! Last time we visited him, it was raining a lot and we were only able to dream about sunny days and barbecues. I’m really glad he invited us and we were able to make our plan true. The day was perfect and it really felt that Spring was here! The past few weeks have been rainy and grey so last Saturday was a real reminder that Summer is coming. I didn’t realise until I moved here how much the weather actually influences my mood. The sun gives you so much energy and I couldn’t stop smiling!

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Before you put the food on the grill you can clean it with onion and olive oil.

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Grilled onions need only some lime and red “salsa” and they’re ready to be eaten!

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Jay the Englishman enjoying onions with red salsa.

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Jay’s rooftop is massive!

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I was a bit sceptical when Rafa said that we were going to make tacos with chistorra (spanish sausage similar to chorizo) and cheese. I couldn’t believe that you didn’t need more ingredients. Like I mentioned before the trick with Mexican food is the “salsa” you put on your taco. In my head I always imagined Mexican food being complicated but in the end the important thing is to combine ingredients wisely and make the “salsas”.

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“Pico de Gallo” on top and your taco is ready! You can find the “Pico de Gallo” recipe here. Simple and super tasty.

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We also prepared some burgers. They were super good! I added some red “salsa” to give my burger a nice spicy touch.

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Finally the sun came down and we continued our evening indoors. I moved to Barcelona over 1 and half years ago and I still feel that there is a crazy amount of things to see and do. Jay moved here recently so it’s refreshing to listen to him because I can relate to those feelings that I experienced when I had just moved here. His roommate actually summed up what Barcelona life is like: every weekend in Barcelona is equivalent to a holiday. It’s crazy, but true! I feel that you have so many things to do and time just flies so you are in this constant battle with time. Especially when Summer comes, you basically just go home to sleep and the rest of the time you spend outside. I’m really looking forward to it but I’m also glad that life is not an endless Summer. 😀

– Eeva –

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Barcelona, Music

TOMMY CASH

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First of all, I’m not an expert what comes to music. I can’t write a deep analysis of an artist, I can just describe my own experiences and feelings.

I have to say that I feel like a teenager when it comes to Tommy Cash. I don’t know if you know the feeling I’m talking about but it’s just this kind of teenage excitement. I haven’t had this kind of feeling in a long time and especially I haven’t had this kind of excitement about an artist in a long time. I was so happy that Tommy came to Barcelona and after buying the tickets I couldn’t think about anything else than the upcoming show.

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The first time I saw his videos, my mind was blown away! I couldn’t believe what I was watching: an Estonian rapper with weird accent on these crazy music videos. The visuals are hypnotising. I love the colours and the way people move in his videos. It’s just breathtaking. He is making something different and you can’t put him into one genre.

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I think Tommy’s visuals explain the music a lot. I really enjoy his music but to get the full experience I recommend you to watch his music videos. My favourite music video so far is “PUSSY MONEY WEED“. I never would have thought that a song called “PUSSY MONEY WEED” would make me cry. 😀 The way he represented handicapped people on the music video was one of the best things I had seen in a while. I have never seen anything like that before and it just hit me hard!

About the show here in Barcelona. I really loved it! He played all his songs except “Surf”. I had high expectations and it turned out to be better than I expected. I’m really glad he played in Sala Apolo because the sound was very good. Also I liked the visuals and well, the atmosphere was amazing! Everyone was dancing, jumping and singing. The only sad thing was that he didn’t play an encore but the show was so good so I forgive him. 😀

I took some videos to show you how great it was, hope you enjoy!

– Eeva –

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Barcelona, Food, Restaurant

CASA LÓPEZ

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If you are travelling to Barcelona or you live in Barcelona and you haven’t visited Casa López, you have to go there as soon as you can. I have to thank our friend Roger again for showing us this wonderful restaurant. Casa López is a perfect name for this place, since the interior reminds me of someone’s house. After discovering this place, we have been there many times and it has always been great! I’ve always wanted to find our own “go to”- bar and we finally have it!

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As you can see above, they have several different “Tapas” on the menu. Prices are decent and well, the quality is great! They also have sandwiches but we still haven’t tried them. One day we will!

If you like cheese I recommend you to try this “Tabla Queso Curado”. That cheese has a lot of flavor without being too strong and the size of the plate is proper. It’s a perfect starter and I recommend you to try it with “Tapa de Fuet”. “Fuet” is a Catalan sausage and this particular one in Casa López is just perfect! It is cut into nice, thin slices which won’t stay long on the plate as soon as everyone has a taste of it.

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We also ordered “Tortilla de Patata” which is a Spanish omelette. I would say that the best ones I have tried so far have been in Casa López and in Pinosa. The problem with “Tortilla de patata” is usually that it’s overcooked and dry. This one is nicely cooked, soft and tasty. My favorite dish in Casa López is “Chocos”. They are basically small calamari and they are super delicious! Usually when we have tried calamari they haven’t had that much flavor BUT these are definitely the exception, they’re the best ones I have tried so far. They have a lot of flavor, they are not oily and they are perfectly fried.

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Above you can see classic “Croquetas de Jamon Iberico” and a big “Bomba de carne”. Bomba is a fried ball of potato and meat with sauce on top. In Finland we have this dish called “lihaperunasoselaatikko” and I would say that this is only a fatter and tastier version of that. So far this has been the best “bomba” I have tried in Barcelona.

The potatoes above are the “all-i-oli” version, they are really good but in my opinion the spicy “Patatas Bravas” are a bit better. If you like garlic, I recommend you to try the ones above. I like both sauces a lot and my inner potatolover approves the flavor of the potatoes. They are soft and nicely roasted! We also tried the meatballs which are really juicy and tender, they are cooked in a tomato sauce with peas and mushrooms which is perfect for dipping some bread into! The combination is wonderful and it’s hard to tell which exact flavor makes them so tasty.

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We finished everything!!

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Digestivos, amazing as always! This one is Orujo de Hierbas.

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As you can see I’m the biggest fan of Casa López and the only thing left to say is: “just go there!”. The only “bad” thing is that it’s usually full and maybe you have to wait for a table a bit, but I think that is always the case what comes to good restaurants. I’d recommend to arrive at around 7 pm in order to not spend time waiting for a table, they also open during midday but I’ve only been there for dinner so I’m not sure about the situation at that time.

Another great thing is that it’s located in Gracia and that is my favorite area in Barcelona. I can’t wait for Spring to come and have a cold drink under the sun at Placa del Sol (a nearby square) after eating in Casa López. 😀

Casa López

Carrer del Topazi 11,

08012,

Barcelona

– Eeva –

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Food, Mexican food, Recipes

MOLLETES

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For my second Mexican food post I’ve decided to share a more simple recipe. Not all Mexican dishes take as much time and effort to make as “Tamales”. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here: TAMALES. All the top chefs started from the bottom, so did we! 😀

This recipe is good for beginners, since it’s relatively simple to make. “Molletes” are a very common Mexican breakfast. To get the best result I think it’s important to have fresh bread and “pico de gallo” (traditional Mexican salsa).

INGREDIENTS (for 10 medium “Molletes”)

For the beans

  • 1 jar (400 grams) of precookd red beans
  • 1/4 of a small onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 pinch of oregano
  • Maggi seasoning sauce to taste (optional)
  • 1 cube of vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups of water

For the “pico de gallo”

  • 4 medium tomatoes (you can also use cherry tomatoes)
  • coriander
  • 3 chiles (fresh serrano / jalapeno or dried chile de arbol)
  • 1/4 onion
  • 2 limes
  • pepper to taste
  • salt to taste

+ fresh bread, preferably ciabatta or baguette (ideally you need a “bolillo” but I think you can only get it in Mexico)

+ cheese (edam, gouda, mozzarella or oaxaca)

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My own freshly baked bread (recipe coming soon).

First you need to wash your precooked beans really well, be sure not to use raw beans because otherwise they will take forever to prepare. Next, put some oil in a pot and add your chopped onion and garlic, once they are golden brown add your beans, water, oregano, salt and pepper and bring to boil. Then, after it boils, switch to medium heat and let them boil until 1/2 of the liquid has consumed. Finally mash your beans with a hand blender (you can also do it by hand).

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Chop the onion and let it rest in a bowl with water for 45 minutes. This takes away the strong flavor of the onion.

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Strain the onion.

Chop the tomatoes, chiles and coriander and mix them. If you are not used to eating spicy food don’t add that many chiles. Add one first and then try it out.

Add the onion, squeeze the lime and mix.

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Your “pico de gallo” is ready!

Now we are going to put together the “Molletes”. Cut your bread in half, spread some beans on your bread and then cover with cheese, once you’ve assembled all your “Molletes” put them in the oven until the cheese has melted and it’s golden brown. Finally put the “pico de gallo” on top and your “Molletes” are ready to be served!

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This is a very simple and nice recipe and even though it’s a breakfast dish you can eat it any time of the day. This is one of my favourite Mexican dishes since I love “pico de gallo” and I adore CHEESE. The combination of a fresh “salsa” with something that just came out of the oven is very rich and flavorful. I highly recommend you to give it a try! 🙂

– Eeva –

 

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Food, Mexican food, Recipes

TAMALES

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On January 5th we got together and baked a “Rosca de Reyes”. It’s a huge round cake made out of soft, white dough and decorated with various things. In Finland we have a very similar version called “pullapitko”. Then, on January 6th, we celebrated “Dia de Reyes”, on this day people traditionally invite their friends and family (or whoever you like) to eat the “Rosca”. The trick is that you hide little figurines, which are supposed to resemble Baby Jesus, inside the “Rosca” and the person who finds them has to prepare “Tamales” on the 2nd of February. The superstitious believe that these figurines will bring you luck if you find them, which I hope it’s true because me and my boyfriend found ALL of them. So it was obvious that we had to prepare “Tamales” for everyone.

Mexicans eat “Tamales” during the whole year and it’s a very typical Mexican dish, especially for breakfast. You can prepare them in many ways but the typical ones are “mole” and “salsa verde”. “Tamales” are definitely not fast food and it takes quite a while to prepare them but it’s definitely worth it. The best way to prepare “Tamales” is to invite your friends over and prepare it together while listening to some good tracks. 🙂

INGREDIENTS (for 20 medium sized “Tamales”)

For the chicken

  • 500 grams of chicken breast
  • 1/2 of a medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 5 cups of water
  • 3 cubes of chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A hint of olive oil

For the “Salsa Verde”

  • 32 whole “Tomatillos” they can either be fresh or from a can. (we used La Costeña brand)
  • 1/2 of a medium onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 10 chiles anchos (you can also use jalapenos or serranos)
  • Maggi seasoning sauce to taste (optional)
  • 1 cube of vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the “Mole”

  • 1 jar of Dona Maria Mole Original (Mole paste)
  • 3 cups of chicken broth (approximately)

For the dough

  • 600 grams of “Masa nixtamalizada” or Maseca flour
  • 125 grams of lard (pig fat)
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 teaspoons of salt

+ corn husks to wrap the “Tamales”

For the beans (side dish)

  • 1 jar (400 grams) of precooked red beans
  • 1/4 of a small onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 pinch of oregano
  • Maggi seasoning sauce to taste (optional)
  • 1 cube of vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups of water

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We’ll start off with the chicken, pour five cups of water in a pot and add the broth, chicken, onion and garlic cloves, set the burner to maximum heat. Once it boils bring the heat down to medium and continue boiling for 30 minutes.

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While the chicken is boiling prepare the “salsa verde”. Put the chiles, onion and garlic on a pan and grill over medium heat, chiles are usually done pretty quickly so remove them after a minute or so, it’s important that they don’t get burnt. The onion and the garlic should be left until charred (partially burned).

We used whole canned “Tomatillos” so there was no need to grill them, however, if you get fresh ones remove the outer coating, wash thoroughly and grill them along with the other ingredients. Another thing worth mentioning is that if you don’t tolerate spicy food you should only add one or two chiles, the ten chiles that we added gave it moderately spicy taste.

Proceed to put everything in a blender along with the cube of vegetable broth, a hint of Maggi sauce, salt and pepper (to taste). BOOM your salsa is ready!

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By this point your chicken is probably ready, so now you need to shred it using two forks as you can see in the picture above. Save the broth you cooked the chicken in.

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In order to speed up the whole process you can start rinsing the corn husks (these take around 15 to 20 minutes to be ready), it is necessary to leave them in a pot with water so that they are soft enough for the creation of the “Tamales”.

This was the easiest part. Since “Mole” is very difficult to make from scratch, we bought this mole paste and dissolved the whole jar with around 2 to 3 cups of the chicken broth we had left. Make sure that the consistency of the “Mole” is similar to Nutella except not as sticky.

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This is the “Masa nixtamalizada” it is very important that you get this type of dough or Maseca corn flour for the “Tamales” because otherwise you won’t get to taste the authentic flavors (and probably the “Tamales” will be ruined!).

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Slowly add 3/4 of a cup of water to your “masa” or Maseca corn flour until you get a soft consistency, if necessary add more water but make sure that the mixture is not too watery.

Use an electric mixer to beat the lard until it looks like the picture above. It must not be too liquid but also not very thick. This took around 15 minutes set to maximum power.

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Now you can add the “masa”, two teaspoons of baking powder and salt to the lard. If you are using a mixer like the one we used, proceed to beat everything for 45 minutes. If you have a more powerful one it might take around 30 minutes. Our mixer was heating up constantly so be careful not to wreck your equipment. 😀

You will know the dough is ready once you place a small chunk of it in a glass with water and it floats.

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Once your corn husks are soft take them out of the water and separate them. You are finally ready to assemble your “Tamales”!

Fill the corn husks just like the pictures above and after you have closed the “Tamal” grab the top of the husk with both of your hands using your thumb and your index fingers, then pull down with one hand while you hold the top with your other hand to make the inside a bit tighter.

Finally fold the top under the “Tamal” so that it’s nicely sealed. You can see in the second picture above how the “Tamal” on the right side is properly closed. If the husk is too small or you have trouble closing it you can use two husks so that the filling stays inside the “Tamal”. We were making two “Salsa verde tamales” per each “Mole tamal” since in general people love them more but make them any way you like. 😀

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We put in these coins in order to know if there is water left in the pot. If the coins make a lot of noise it means that you have to add more water. This is an old school Mexican trick. 😉

Ideally you have to place the “Tamales” vertically so that they cook in a more effective way but we didn’t have that much space in this pot so a larger pot is recommended. In our case we had to steam the “Tamales” for 1 hour 30 minutes in order to get the perfect consistency.

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MMMM…. Tamales….

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While your delicious “Tamales” are cooking you can make “Frijoles” as a side dish, these are traditional Mexican beans (people in Mexico eat them with almost everything). First you need to wash your precooked beans really well, be sure not to use raw beans because otherwise they will take forever to prepare. Next, put some oil in a pot and add your chopped onion and garlic, once they are golden brown add your beans, water, oregano, salt and pepper and bring to boil. Then, after it boils, switch to medium heat and let them boil until 1/2 of the liquid has consumed.

At that point you can mash your beans or use the hand blender if you are feeling kind of lazy after all this work (we were already a bit tired). 😀

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Taking the “Tamales” out of the pot.

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Time to enjoy!

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The “Tamales” were amazing. It was a lot of fun to cook them but also hard work. We had the pleasure of sharing the “Tamales” with an international group of people and it was nice to see that everybody loved them. Special thanks to Fercho and Rafael for making this possible. 🙂

So if you want to challenge yourself in the kitchen, impress someone with your cooking skills AND enjoy an exotic meal, “Tamales” are the perfect choice for you. Also it’s nice to get together, cook and try something new with your friends or family. The only problem we had was that we should’ve cooked more since they were so successful!

I’ve included below the original recipe that helped us through this whole process (video in Spanish).

– Eeva –

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