Definitions for tamaletəˈmɑ li
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word tamale
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
minced and seasoned meat packed in cornmeal dough, wrapped in corn husks, and steamed.
Origin of tamale:
1850–55; MexSp tamales, pl. of tamal < Nahuatl tamalli Amerind
a city in northern Ghana
corn and cornmeal dough stuffed with a meat mixture then wrapped in corn husks and steamed
Mexican dish of cornmeal dough shell filled with various ingredients (e.g. chopped beef, pork, sweet filling) then steamed in corn husks.
Origin: plural tamales, from tamales, plural of tamal, from tamalli .
A tamale is a traditional Mesoamerican dish made of masa, which is steamed or boiled in a leaf wrapper. The wrapping is discarded before eating. Tamales can be filled with meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, chilies or any preparation according to taste, and both the filling and the cooking liquid may be seasoned. Tamales have been traced back to the Ancient Maya people, who prepared them for feasts as early as the Preclassic period. Maya people called their corn tortillas and tamales both utah. Tamales originated in Mesoamerica as early as 8000 to 5000 BC. Aztec and Maya civilizations, as well as the Olmeca and Tolteca before them, used tamales as portable food, often to support their armies, but also for hunters and travelers. Tamale use in the Inca Empire had been reported long before the Spanish visited the New World. The diversity of native languages in Mesoamerica led to a number of local words for the tamal, many of which remain in use. The Spanish singular of tamales is tamal. The English word "tamale" was likely created by English speakers who did not speak Spanish and assumed that removing the "s" alone would yield the singular.
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