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You are viewing blog entries tagged maiz+-+corn.

Luscious Thai Curry Chocolate Truffles & Tamales Panamanian Style edit

Are you ready for something new and seductive? This is your lucky day because my recipe to prepare "Luscious Thai Curry Truffles" is being featured at The Gilded Fork.

This is an unusual combination of sweet flavors with spicy, hot sensations. Traditionally, cuisines from temperate regions of the world, as such as Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and the Mediterranean have always combined these ingredients. This time we are celebrating these aphrodisiac flavors in the form of truffles. Be sure to allow yourself two days to craft this recipe, as the truffles need to sit overnight in the refrigerator.

Tamal4_1 Some of you may have already read my previous post about tamales: The Corn-Quest tales "1", and "2." If you haven't, I invite you to take a look so you understand the motivation behind this tamale project.

I only hope this recipe arrives just in time for The Passionate Cook to prepare some tamales with the fresh corn ears that Cook Sister brought from Mexico as a gift for her. Otherwise, I'll send you some from Panama smile

The secret to prepare the most flavorful tamales, is to follow our ancestor's traditions and to think of the process as an act of love and preservation of our culture. The tamales are a reflection of our Latin American diversity, and no doubt they are an element that portrays unity among all the Latin American countries, and wherever their people are.

The tamale is a traditional food made from "maize masa", cooked and stuffed with different ingredients that vary from country to country.  The materials used to wrap and secure them also change in every culture.

Tamal1_1 What makes the Panamanian tamale different from others is the filling and the rich "sofrito" that adds not only color, but an unique taste to it. We wrap the tamales in banana leaves and bijao leaves for the flavor.  "Bijao", or "Platanillo", Heliconia bihai L., is a shrub that grows wild in Latin America and the Caribbean. Its flowers are called  "false bird of paradise" and add the exotic touch to the local flower arrangements.

In Panama, tamales are always present during Christmas and New Year's celebrations, as well as in parties and weddings. After all, anytime is a good occasion to enjoy this filling, tasty dish! Their aroma is so unmistakable that it would take you with no mercy to the place where it's being prepared. The characteristics of a good tamale are: the flavor, the consistency of the masa, the appearance, and the wrapping.

panama tamal tamales tamale cooking cook chef chefs gourmet panamagourmet recipe recipes receta recetas diva cookingdiva melissa de leon douglass
  • by Chef Melissa
  • January 31, 2006
  • 7:20 pm

The mysterious relationship between “Chicha de Maiz” and Latin Americans edit

It is called "Chicha de Maiz" (a kind of corn beverage, made with corn sprouts. It is delicious fresh, or add  extra kick by fermenting it a few days).

Dsc03003_1 The mysteriously idyllic, almost lost relationship between "Chicha de Maiz" and Latin Americans has been one of my ongoing quests, no expiration date for this one. I am just really intrigued by the different ways it's prepared in the different Latin American countries. It always puzzles me the fact that people do not prepare it any longer, as they used to do in the long gone days. Would this be an obsession? Maybe.

As human beings we sometimes tend to get on our horses and ride our dreams, likes and dislikes to the maximum, and then...drop them! They are gone for good sometimes. Because of my relationship with food, I have been obsessed with certain dishes, styles and even some "ingredients," many many times.

To give you an example, I confess that long time ago when I was living in México, I prepared and ate a different kind of delicious pancake every morning for 3-4 continuous months...I am not sure why, but I did. One day I quit, and until nowadays I have not managed to cook or eat the evil thing.

Back to the "chicha," I would never get tired of experimenting here and there, just trying to keep the tradition alive. Would you join me?

Dsc02969_1 To keep the gods happy, our brewing sessions were conducted strictly by the women of the kitchen team, at my house.  The men simply looked after the fridge and took care of any "food they could munch on" while we were busy at chicha making. That is a no-no, but you know how men are sometimes when they want to bug out.

From ancient times, in Andean society and other Latin American indigenous groups, participation by men in the brewing process of the chicha is considered bad luck. I totally relate to this thought. They also thought is was pure stupidity, since men are considered to lack the basic skills required to brew good corn wine/beer.

Now the step by step recipe with photos:

  • by Chef Melissa
  • September 12, 2007
  • 3:58 pm

Cocina Tradicional de Panamá: Deliciosas Tortillas de Maíz y Plátano edit

El maíz, siendo un cultivo nativo de Panamá y otros países Latinoamericanos, se consume de diferentes formas de acuerdo a sus tradiciones.

En Panamá, cuando el maíz es nuevo y tierno y aun no se ha endurecido en la mazorca se utiliza para preparar un arcoiris de platos tradicionales y deliciosos como el tamal de maiz nuevo y bollo de maíz nuevo, torrejitas de maíz nuevo, tortilla changa y la única “pesada de maíz nuevo”.

Por otro lado, también es muy popular el uso de lo que llamamos “maíz viejo”, que no es mas que el maíz que se secó en la mazorca y luego ha sido desgranado. Se preparan tamales tradicionales envueltos en hoja de bijao, tamal de olla, bollos de todo tipo, incluyendo los famosos “bollos preñados de La Chorrera”, chicha de maíz nacido dulce o fermentada, y las deliciosas tortillas…las cuales al mezclar la masa de maíz con otros ingredientes tales como queso fresco ó plátano, entre otros, deleitan los paladares de los panameños y extranjeros que populan el istmo.

Hoy compartiremos el paso-a-paso con fotos del procedimiento para preparar las deliciosas tortillas de maíz con plátano, las cuales probé por primera vez durante la investigación gastronómica que realicé en víspera de la monumental Panamá Gastronómica que tuvo lugar el pasado Junio 17-20, 2010 en nuestro querida Panamá. Y digo “monumental”, porque, modestia aparte, fue un trabajo de carácter titánico el que realizamos todos los participantes y organizadores, todo con el fin último del rescate de nuestras raíces…, el amor a la procedencia…esa que muchas veces se castiga con el silencio y el olvido.

Ver la imagen tamaño grande

  • by Chef Melissa
  • July 13, 2010
  • 12:12 am

Los Sabores Criollos Renovados: Chicheme con Leche de Coco, Miel de Caña y Cacao edit

Las raíces de las tradiciones culinarias en Panamá se remontan a los tiempos de la conquista, según los historiadores y conocedores locales, se deduce que el Chicheme tiene influencias afro-caribeñas e indígenas. De hecho, cuando notamos leche de coco en una combinación, decimos que las influencias son afro-caribeñas. Con las recetas que compartimos hoy, intentamos refrescar las tradicionales recetas, jugando un poco con ingredientes que no son encontrados regularmente en ellos. Que lo disfruten, que viva la tradición!

Chicheme Tradicional

  • 1 lb. de maíz pilado
  • 2-4 palitos de canela
  • 1 cucharadita de sal
  • Agua
  • Miel de Caña o Azucar al gusto
    Procedimiento: Cocinar el maíz lavado y remojado desde la noche anterior. Cocine en agua con la sal hasta que esté muy blando y haya espesado. Remover del fuego y endulzar al gusto con la miel de caña o azúcar.

Chicheme con Leche de Coco, Miel de Caña y Cacao

  • Maíz cocido en agua con la sal según se indica en la receta anterior
  • 1 taza de cacao en polvo sin azúcar
  • 2-4 tazas de leche de coco
  • Miel de caña al gusto para endulzar
  • 1 cucharada de vainilla (opcional)


  • Licuar 1 taza del maíz cocido con su agua, con 1 taza de cacao en polvo sin azúcar. Incorporar la mezcla con chocolate al resto del chicheme y revolver bien.
  • Agregar la leche de coco y miel de caña al gusto para endulzar, y la vainilla si la está usando. Revolver bien y servir bien frío o con hielo.

    • by Chef Melissa
    • February 25, 2012
    • 8:19 am

    Felices Fiestas 2012: Chef Rolando Gonzalez y su famoso Tamal de Olla edit

    Nuestro querido Chef Rolando nos comparte su receta favorita para preparar el tamal de olla, plato tradicional en Panamá para fiestas de fin de año. Es una práctica forma para preparar tamales, ya que no se envuelven en hojas de tallo o bijao como los otros, lo que lo hace muy atractivo para principiantes y para quienes nos gusta  en ocasiones degustar estas delicias tradicionales sin complicarnos! Buen provecho!




    • 2 tazas de harina de maíz
    • 5 tazas de fondo de ave (caldo de pollo)
    • 6 cucharadas de aceite vegetal pintado con achiote
    • Sal y pimienta al gusto
    • by Chef Melissa
    • December 27, 2012
    • 4:42 am



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