Posts Tagged With: Sonora


Mexican Entree



1 onion
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast (or ground beef or shredded pork)
1 beef bouillon cube
1/4 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder (1 tablespoon more later)
1/2 tablespoon coriander
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1/4 cup yellow corn meal
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder (1/2 teaspoon more later)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoons chili powder (2 tablespoons more earlier)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (1/2 tablespoon more earlier)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package corn husks or tamale paper


1 cup tomato sauce
1 7.5 ounce can chili
1 bouillon cube
1 cup vegetable oil

(This recipe is spicy. If you prefer milder food, consider reducing the amounts of chili powder by up to half the stated amounts.)


2 large pots
Box of wooden toothpicks (optional)


Place corn husks at a time in first large pot. Heat corn husks at warm heat for 1-to-2 hours.

Soaking makes the corn husks pliable. Stiff, brittle corn husks really don’t roll well. The corn husk will split or the tamale will unravel. (You’ll end up shouting over the ensuing disaster and your whole family will head grumpily out to a fast- food joint.) Soak those corn husks.


Set aside an afternoon to do this. Mince onions. Shred chicken breast or meat of choice. Crumble bouillon cube. Combine onion, tomato sauce, shredded chicken, chili powder, coriander, cumin, corn meal, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and bouillon.

Mix thoroughly with hands. Shape mix into sticks no longer than about 3/4 the width of the corn husks.


In large bowl, mix corn meal, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt. Roll meat sticks in corn meal until coated all over.

Take a tablespoon of this coating and place it near the top, narrow part of the corn husk. Roll the husk from the top until the meat stick is enclosed. Fold in the sides of the husk and finish rolling. Be sure to roll it tight. Place the resulting tamale in second large pot with the seam side down.

Continue with the rest of the tamales. Put each tamale right up against the side of the pot or another tamale to prevent the husks from unraveling. You might wish to hold the tamales together with a wooden toothpick as well.


Mix sauce ingredients together. Pour sauce over tamales. Add enough water to cover the top layer of tamales. Bring to boil then reduce heat. Simmer for 40 minutes. Add vegetable oil. Simmer for 5 minutes more. Let soak for 30 minutes. This gives the cornmeal time to absorb the sauce.

Unroll the corn husks and serve the tamales. Cover the tamales with as much sauce as desired from the pot.


It’s possible that you might run out of pots to cook all the tamales you would otherwise make. You can use the excess meat mix as a burrito or taco filling. The remaining sauce in the pot makes an excellent chili soup. Reorganize the fridge. Make room for all this great food.


1) My grandmother, who was born in Sonora, used to make tamales. I wish I remembered this better.

2) After making this dish, you’ll have a much greater appreciation of why tamales cost so much in stores and in restaurants. You’ll also see why establishments make tamales in such big batches.

3) Profusely thank your sweetheart who cleans up after your cooking. If you don’t have a sweetheart, consider finding one to help you tidy up after making tamales.

4) There is a Tamale Museum in Newport Beach, California. Featured there are paintings of Los Angeles’ taco trucks.

5) The first tamale factory in America opened in Austin, Texas in 1911. Prior to that, America was in the culinary dark ages.

6) There is a tamale factory in Vicksburg, Mississippi. It opened in 1939. I’ve been there. Their food is good. People in Northwest Mississippi are serious about their tamales. Who knew?

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on

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Fish-Stick Tacos

Mexican Entree



9 small fish sticks
1/2 medium onion
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon Seafood MagicTM spice
2 tablespoons butter
grated four Mexican cheeses
3 taco shells
1/2 cup lettuce
salsa is optional


Mince the onion and garlic in a food processor. Melt butter in sauce pan. Add onion, garlic, cumin and fish spice. Cook on medium until tender. Be sure to throughly blend in the spices. Stir frequently enough to avoid burning.

Cook the fish sticks as directed on its package. Note that many large ovens take a longer time to cook than directed while smoke billowing out of your toaster oven will forcefully suggest that it cooks food somewhat faster than you expect. Fish sticks can go past your desired level of crispiness to cinders faster than kids unwrap presents on Christmas, so check on them often. In fact, it’s always a good idea to cook in an oven with a window. (Ugh. It sounds as if I want to you cook yourself in an oven. Or cook with a window. I meant to say, “… to cook your food in an oven that has a window.” For heavens sake.)

Put three fish sticks in taco shell. Top with desired amount of onion/garlic/spices mix, grated cheeses, and lettuce. Add salsa.


1) My grandmother came from Sonora, Mexico, an inland province. I never even heard of fish tacos until a few decades ago. I suspect my grandparents and parents were trying to shelter me from something.

2) Don’t be tempted to pick those fish sticks off the searing-hot cooking tray with your fingers. You’ll only make that mistake once.

3) Fish sticks were supposed to have been made out of herring, but people preferred the blander cod.

4) Fish sticks are a popular item on children’s menus.

5) So are macaroni and corn. Fish sticks, macaroni, and corn comprise Kid CuisinesTM Deep Sea Adventure Fish Stick MealTM. Give your kids this when you and your spouse wish to go out on a dinner date. You’ll feel good about yourself knowing that you gave them a restaurant kids’ meal at a fraction of the cost.

6) Fish sticks were first called, “fish fingers.” “Fish sticks” makes more sense. But then again, “chicken sticks” makes more sense than “chicken tenders.”

7) According to the Codex Standard For Frozen Fish Sticks (Fish Fingers), Fish Portions and Fish Fillets – Breaded or in Batter,

“Codex Stan 166 – 1989

“2.1.1 A fish stick (fish finger) is the product including the coating weighing not less than 20g and not more than 50g shaped so the length is not less than three times the greatest width. Each stick shall be not less than 10mm thick.”

Whew! Thank goodness some governmental agency is looking out after somebody. I was worried that the fish stick industry was the Wild West.

8) However, the amount of mercury that may be eaten in fish is subject only to a federal advisory.

9) Mercury is no longer used in thermometers due the danger it presented to small kids who might break the fragile instrument.

10) Indeed, it is impossible to find a thermometer containing any type of mercury-carrying fish. This shows the fear the thermometer industry has toward even trace amounts of mercury.

Years of gainful employment may be no more for America’s big bird if Romney wins the election in November.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on

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