Guatemalan Tamales for Christmas: colorado, negro & chuchito

Guatemalan Tamales: colorado, negro & chuchito

A few Guatemalans living abroad asked for photos of tamales colorado (red) and negro (black) made especially for Christmas Eve and Christmas through New Years, so that is the reason for today’s photo. You would never see a plate like this one with three different kind of tamales served at once since it is against Guatemalan etiquette to eat more than one tamal at the time; you may eat as many tamales as you stomach may allow, but one after another (see the quote below for further explanation). The tamal colorado (red) is the most often seen the tamal in Guatemala along with the small chuchito (wrapped with corn husks), but the tamal negro (black) is usually made only for special occasions and Christmas, of course. The black tamal takes its name from the chocolate-based sauce and comes with raising, dried plums and nuts. Yes, it is bit sweet, although the tamal negro is considered a main dish. I have posted before a photo of two other kind of tamales before: the pache and the chuchito.

Never order two tamales together, as Guatemalan etiquette calls for eating one at a time. Of course, you may help yourself to more tamales as often as you want, just like my dear Uncle Rafa, who in his good times started a Christmastime competition of eating red tamales and once consumed 17 in a row.
Another warning: The big leaf on which red tamales are served is a plantain leaf and is not edible. I can never forget my dear grandmom’s joke about a gringo telling his Guatemalan hostess that the tamales were very good — only the lettuce was too hard. (Quoted from Tamales at Revue Magazine by Arturo Echeverrí­a; click the link to read the whole entry)

Thank you all for your kinds words and wishes. I leave you with the recipe for the tamal colorado in English and Spanish (here is another recipe for the red tamal).

Today’s entry is dedicated to my niece Samantha. I love you very much Samantha.

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  • http://LIFEANDTIMES patsy poor

    i would love one of the tamales now. I have features your blog today. I wanted everyone to know the different ways christmas was celebrated around the world and I told people that you have the best information and photos and they should read your blog for information. have a good day.

  • http://www.andersondailyphoto.wordpress.com Lessie

    yum!

  • http://babosadasyhierbas.blogspot.com/ Chachi

    I love your tío Rafa´s 17 tamales eaten in a row…hahahahaha. I hope he´d been the winner. I think if your uncle´d come to my home at this christmas, he´d finished with all my stock of tamalitos, because I made only 20. 1 the tester, 2 for my husband and me….17 for your lovely uncle Rafa!!!
    Thanks for this delicious picture!!!

  • http://arte-sano.blogspot.com ale

    This year I wont complain about spending the Navidades out of Guate, My best gift this year was my “mama” coming from Guate, and some “paches” that she will prepare just form me, I appreciate the Pic tho, looks so good, I miss the “cuetes” manin, but next year I hope will see the christmas in the home town. anyways un fuerte abrazo y salud con ponche!

  • http://www.rotterdamdailyphoto.blogspot.com dutchie

    I have no idea what it tastes like, but it looks delicious!

  • http://antiguadailyphoto.com Rudy Girón

    Patsy: Well, I’ll buy one or two for you next time you come into town.

    Lessie: The tamales were good and tasteful.

    Chachi: Actually Rafa is not my uncle. Rafa is Arturo’s uncle, but I would invite him over for Christmas either. He would eat all my tamales. ;-)

    Ale: Your mom’s visit is certainly the best gift for Christmas, even if she comes without tamales. Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo para usté también.

    Dutchie: Sorry, flavors and smells can not be posted yet in this version of WordPress. ;-)

  • elmonica

    I have to say I prefer the chuchitos. When I studied Spanish in Antigua the chuchitos were always being sold at breaktime. Apparently they are a lot easier to make. I found the texture of the tamales exterior to be soupy which I didn’t care for. Maybe I just didn’t try the right ones.

  • Yeya

    Are there any places in the United States where I can find Guatemalan tamales. Or if there is a store where they sell frozen tamales. Thank you

  • Eve

    YUM yum, I’m 3 months pregnant and you guys won’t believe my “cravings” YUP Tamales.. the crazy thing is that I thought I would never get to eat one, but guess what? I found a store that sold the plantain leaf, believe it in the BIG APPLE NEW YORK?. So I called mom for the recipe, So just finished eating 3 tamales, and for being the first time making them I did pretty good.. I just got to make 30.. and seeing them here online AWESOME! wish i could take a picture..mmmm mmmm. my next thing is chuchitos.. LOL

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  • http://www.awesomedesigns.blogspot.com Julia Mejia

    I Love Paches and I’ll be leaving guatemala soon! I had the opportunity to learn but I chickened out because there were so many people here that day and I get a little anxious with the CROWD staring and whispering about me… I’m so happy to have found your lovely recipes! Thank you for this contribution to Guatemalan cuisine! After spending months here I will want to learn some of these things for my children and husband who are Guatemalan (Kids are half)Weve had stomach ailments here and now Im pregnant so Ive been sick for 2 months and not able to be around the smells of cooking. This Christmas, we will be having Paches instead of Turkey :)

    Thank you!
    Julia

  • Judy

    My mom use to make Guatemalian tamales for christmas…it was a tradition! So this year I will try to make it! Merry Christmas everyone!

  • Anna

    S.O.S!!
    Argh!! I need a Guatemalan tamale recipe,please PRETTY PLEASE!!.

  • Anna

    Ops! I meant to say: “Colorado Tamales”,Thank you and I’m sorry for double-posting:$

  • http://www.christmastreeangeltopper.com/victorian-angels.html WALTER

    Thanks for writeing this post! I can’t belive that it’s really almost Christmas, where does the time fly?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/kasandra.leiva Khasie Mohammed Khasie Mohamme

    hi i like your commet about guatemala exquisites.i miss my country two,am a single mother ,who came to new york long time ago the history is my mother she die 4 years ago two is so sad.but,i still doing my tamales,here in my appartment,my daughter,8 years old she help me,she is so cute ,and she tell me mami you forget put the chile pimiento,o something she is very attent when we cooking,the way i learn to make tamales,my momi allways send us my sis and me to santa rosa de lima,my aunts then dont let me stay in the kitchen,but because i like to lear,i was stand like a hour or more in the kitchen door watching have then maken the tamaless and caldo en amarillo and the kakik el gallo and recado delicius.i wish you can contacme mabe i can teach you have to make ,but actualy we have in this web,thanks to lord everything to lear the recipes ,the best wonderfull people who take the to take the time and the paticent   thank you for you story is similar to you,you cn contacme in khassie mohhammed in facebook. and am sorry to everybody for my writing.    

  • Graciela

    OMGGGG have u heard of CHIPILIN w/ chuchitos is VERYY good

    • http://antiguadailyphoto.com Rudy

      Yes Graciela, as a matter of fact, I had chuchitos with chipilín this morning as refacción (snack). :-)

  • littleguatemalan

    the link for the recipe doesn’t work anymore – could you please send it to me? thank you! mwalits@gmail.com

    • http://antiguadailyphoto.com Rudy

      Sorry, I don’t have the recipe and that’s why I linked it before. But, I tell you what, I will post a new photo and ask for a recipe. Stay tune!

  • Lindagurl7

    THis is sooo Great ….I love tamales negros i make my family over in guatemala go crazy trying to find them

  • melissacordova

    Please please please post or send me the tamale colorado recipe!! The link doesn’t work. mcordova@jyorklaw.com Thank you!!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/kasandra.leiva Khasie Mohammed Khasie Mohamme

    lllllloooooooollllll  thanks to share this.