Making Tamales with Black Beans and Hoja Santo in Banana Leaf

Categories: Cooking tips, Kidney Unable to Grasp Qi

Tamales made with black beans and Hoja Santo are very traditional in southern Mexico. Hoja Santo (Piper auritum) is a plant with large, heart-shaped leaves that is used as a flavoring and medicinal. In Mayan, it is known as X’mak’ulan, and local healers use the plant for bronchitis and asthma. As this tamale combines black beans, which are nourishing for the Kidney and Hoja Santo, it would be the perfect dish for someone with Kidney qi insufficiency contributing to asthma or bronchitis.

First the banana leaves are cut into squares and blanched, then left out to cool. Frozen banana leaves can be found in Mexican groceries.

Leaves of Hoja Santo are washed and the center vein removed.

The tamale batter is made with masa corn flour, a touch of lard, and enough water to make a sticky dough a little softer than play-doh.

Each tamale is made by layering a banana leaf square with dough, some cooked black beans, and a leaf of Hoja Santo.

Making tamales is a family activity, otherwise they would never get finished.

Once all of the ingredients are on the banana leaf, it is folded in thirds lengthwise, then again in thirds crosswise.

The constructed tamales are layered in a steamer pot, or ‘tamalera’ or ‘vaporera’, and cook for about an hour.

Que Sabroso!