I got to participate in a really fun activity in San Juan del Sur: a cooking class! We learned to cook a local food at a local’s house. This is my experience cooking and eating Nacatamales in someone’s backyard in Nicaragua.
What are Nacatamales?
Nacatamales are a traditional Nicaraguan food and a twist on the tamales most of us have had in Mexican restaurants. Cooked in banana leaves over a flame for hours (4-5 in this case), they are very big and contain meat, corn meal, rice, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, peppers and mint.
Here in Nicaragua, they are popularly served for special occasions like Christmas and Sunday breakfast.
Learning to Cook Nacatamales
You know my Spanish school organizes all sorts of fun activities to keep us students busy and entertained! Well, one of them was this cooking class. A group from the Spanish school went to a local’s house to learn how to cook nacatamales on a Friday afternoon.
We got to learn and participate in the act of putting the tamales together, from putting all the ingredients into the banana leaves to rolling them up and wrapping them with string, and then the 4 – 5 hours of cooking on the hot wood-fired grill in the backyard patio.
Eating Nacatamales in Someone’s Backyard
We did not have to wait that long to eat the nacatamales. They were pretty much ready when we got there. After our hands-on lesson, we sat down and ate. These things were way too big and filling for our group, but we all tasted them. The ones we had were filled with pork, but chicken is apparently common too. They were pretty good! If you come to Nicaragua, you should try one!