Make tamales in 15 minutes? Sounds impossible, but it's happening at La Casita Mexicana in Bell.
Chefs Ramiro Arvizu and Jaime Martín del Campo have come up with a clever method--I won't tell what it is, because it's their secret. And they'll soon introduce these speedy tamales at the restaurant.
I watched in the kitchen as they made the tamales--that's Martín del Campo mixing herbs into the masa above--and tasted a couple of samples. The idea is simple. It's the perfect solution if you need to make tamales from scratch and serve them in a hurry.
The ingredients are the same as for any tamal--prepared masa, a filling such as chicken and mole (at top), salsa, cheese and either a corn husk or a section of banana leaf for the wrapper.
The cooking method is different, very different. That's all I'll say. But the results are delicious.
La Casita Mexicana, 4030 Gage Avenue Bell, CA 90201. (323) 773-1898.