True Nature Travels Blog

Letters from Lindsay: Traditional Costa Rican Corn Cake

2015-01-29 10.19.48Cooking is one of my favorite activities.  I enjoy it more when I am learning how to prepare new dishes from my mother.  She is not a chef, but she cooks with love.  To me, her food is the most delicious food in all the world!  She likes to stick cooking this traditional Costa Rican corn cake recipe that is a part of common tico cuisine.
Today at coffee/tea time she prepared what’s called Tamal Asado.  It’s yummy, simple traditional Costa Rican corn cake that is wonderful to have as a mid afternoon snack.  My mother makes the best version, I think, and we love sharing each other’s company together over a piece of eat and a hot cup of cafe.  I’ve included the recipe for you below.
To go along with it, she also prepared a special picadillo called Ropa Vieja that we eat with tortillas or with a salad.  Yes, it sounds funny if we consider that ropa vieja means old clothing.
The name comes from our recycling devotion.  This is the way we recycle food:  After tasting a vegetable and meat soup that traditionally is called Olla de Carne (great for lunch on a rainy day), we put some olive oil in a pan, then we add the veggies that are still in the Olla de Carne pot and mix it up.  You can add the broth to make sure that the vegetables are covered, keeping them covered for 15 minutes. When it is ready, you can leave it on the wood stove on low until dinner time, so it gets dry, smells delicious and the taste incredible.

Tamal Asado

  • 1 1/2 cups grounded corn
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 stick of butter, we use the one from our área and the brand is Dos Pinos
  • 1 cup of grated white cheese (homemade)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp of vanilla or almond
Mix the grounded corn with milk.  Add sugar, melted butter, cheese, eggs and vanilla.  Mix and place in a baking pan.  If you use a oven, bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.  In our case, we use the wood stove oven which takes around 25 minutes.  Wait until cooled, call your family, relative and friends, make sure to have boiled water, prepare coffee or tea, and serve!