Nopalito Signature Meals: Tamal de Amarillo con Camote

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It’s been several months since we’ve written about tamal. As a perpetually changing seasonal composition, a peek at the current offering feels overdue; And while the midnight bean and mushroom was a memorable one, the current, Tamal de Amarillo con Camote (sweet potato tamal with yellow mole) puts all others on notice. The irresistible sweet potato can be found both in steamy chunks as well as carefully worked into the masa itself.

This tamal is inspired by the abundant sweet potatoes of latter and early parts of the year. Sweet potatoes are eaten all throughout Mexico and used as a popular ingredient in stews. They are also popular in Mexican candies called, dulces autenticos.

Nopalito’s tamal is a combination of both Northern Mexican and Southern Mexican cooking styles: That it is steamed in a corn husk is indicative of the north, while the mole amarillo is one of the seven moles from Oaxaca, in Southern Mexico.

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This cross-section shows all that is good with this dish: chunks of sweet potato are blanketed in sweet potato masa. Heavenly.

Process: Tamal is masa steamed inside of corn husks. The improbable depth of the dish comes from the masa (a corn-based dough), which has been enhanced by the addition of puréed sweet potato. The steaming of the masa, with the sweet aroma of the potatoes is almost too much to bear.

Inexplicably, it gets better. The filling of diced sweet potatoes, sautéed onion, jalapeño and mole amarillo, adds texture and complex spice, while reinforcing that aromatic sweet potato core. It is garnished with housemade queso fresco, green and white onions and mole amarillo.