Guatemalan Tamales for Christmas: 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.

© 2006 – 2018, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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