By Juan R. Govea
Mostly attributed to the Hispanic cultural cuisine tamales are served year around at any Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurants and local food markets. With tamale sales typically higher during the holiday season, DIY tamale makers and restaurants usually sellout of the traditionally corn-husked wrapped menu item making a noticeable profit for DIY tamale makers like Mike Padilla. For more than 4 years Padilla has been known to friends, family and clients as the Tamelero,“ The Tamale Maker,” who now resides in Austin, TX. 34-year-old, Padilla, first learned his trade of making craft tamales form his family, but was inspired by the business aspect of producing and selling tamales from his time working at Austin’s Tamale House.
Padilla sates that working at Austin’s Tamale House customers seemed satisfied by the house’s tamales.
“The customers liked the tamales, but they were dry and I would always think I don’t want to serve this,” he says. “I always thought they could be better.”
Learning the cultural trade from his mother, father and sister Padilla states his tamale recipes originate from different part of Mexico.
“The Pork I learned from my mom whose from Monterrey Mexico, which the recipe originates and the chicken I learned from my sister whose from Chihuahua, and jalapeno and cheese I learned in Mexico City where my dad’s from,” Padilla says.
The Tamalero’s hand made process is done with care and time. The 48-hour process requires naps, breaks and taking/making orders amounting to more than 400 tamales steamed, wrapped and stuffed.
Uniquely done, Padilla gives color to the corn masa. The red, green and purple masa is festively made with organic colors from black beans, cilantro and red peppers without the use of food coloring. Stuffed with fire roasted peppers and goat cheese wrapped in purple masa from the black beans Padilla calls his, “Black Metal Tamales,” a good seller.
Padilla’s tamales range from spicy to sweet with ingredients including raisins and pecans to chicken, cheese and traditional pork. From Halloween to New Years Padilla says his craft tamales sellout quick. “It’s definitely a process,” Padilla says. “I love it.”