Guatemalan Cuisine: Tamalitos de frijol

Guatemalan Bean Tamalitos

Certainly some of you can help us determine the differences between chuchos and chuchitos, which were both mentioned yesterday in Guy Howard’s ‘first‘ guest contribution. Perhaps then, someone brave enough can tackle the differences between tamalitos and tamales. Finally, once both answers have been already explained, pues, might as well elaborate on the differences between chuchitos and tamalitos.

Anyone, anyone?

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  • Guy

    Here goes: Tamales cooked in banana leaf, Chuchos in Tusa. Chuchos are smaller, made with corn masa of harder consistency. Tamales have more sauce and can include extras like olives and capers. Pork meat – lomito- is most traditional for both.

  • James

    I love the posts on comida chapina, and here you’ve hit on all my favorites.

    Chuchos are obviously dogs and should not be eaten. Chuchitos are my absolute favorite, mostly because they are cheap (1-2 Q depending on the place), delicious, and only 2 or 3 fill you up, with a glass of atol of course.

    My wife, who just made a batch of chuchitos last night, insists on using ‘tamalitos’ for all tamale-like Guatemalan foods: tamalitos de frijol, tamalitos de maize, tamalitos de papa (paches), etc. But when pressed admits that ‘tamale’ is the normal tamale de masa cooked in oja de maize and tamalitos usually refer to tamales with various types of filling or wrapped in plantain leaf. She doesn’t like using words that can confuse Guatemalan food with Mexican, and ‘tamale’ is too easily confused with other types of tamale made in other countries.

    Also, Guatemalan food terminology sometimes changes based on city or region, particularly when you get into border regions more influenced by other countries like Mexico or Honduras.

    Buen Provecho!

  • Erick

    No idea what the differences are, but I’m sure I would more than willing to eat either one of them.

  • wow! some people really know their food. I love the pic it looks delicioso.

  • I thing Guy’s explanations are right on the spot; one more that I’d add is that tamalitos are usually eaten as a substitute of tortillas and they are the side dish of a meal while tamales are a meal by themselves.

  • emromesco

    I second (third, fourth) the good explanations of Guy. However, I do have a pet-peeve with the “e” at the end of words. Guacamole, tamale, atole are words in “Mexican”, whereas guacamol, tamal, atol are pure Chapin.

  • Eric

    @ Erick – Amen, brother. I rarely remember the names of what I’m served in Guatemala, but I sure remember the taste. MMmmmmmm….
    @ emromesco – Thanks for the validation with dropping the final ‘e’. I can’t count the times that I’ve had a helpful chapin friend correct me – ‘no [e], solamente taMAL’. Now, of course, the Mexicans who own the local bar look at me funny when I order ‘tacos pescados con guacaMOL’ (no guacamolE), pero … asi es la vida, no ?

  • Looks yummy… can I have one now??

  • Adittyzacarias

    Los tamalitos de frijol parecen ser envueltos en hoja de platano en vez de tuza. Is that the traditional way of doing them?

    • This is actually a maize / corn plant leave. You find them wrapped both ways, with tuza and with hoja de maizal.