A popular treat in the mornings or evenings, and often served at parties, tamales are a type of corn dough dumpling that comes in a corn husk or banana leaf wrapper. The word tamal (yes, the singular of tamales is tamal, not the oft heard “tamale”) comes from the Nahuatl (the language of the Aztecs) word meaning “wrapped.” They usually have a filling which may be mole or salsa with chicken, or sometimes rajas, which is strips of poblano chiles along with some tomato and onion.
There are even sweet tamales, which instead of having a filling, will have sugar, cinnamon, raisins and bits of pineapple mixed in with the dough. Remove the wrapping to eat the tamal inside. At street stands in Mexico City, they are sometimes served on a bolillo bun, as a “torta de tamal” sometimes referred to as a “guajolota”.