The tamales gisu is a local dish, and itself is made of corn meal and masa harina (corn flour) but each half is flavored differently. The orange half is colored by achote (annatto) seed extract and flavored with meat such as bacon or chicken. The white half represents the “starch” portion of the tamale and has no distinctive meat-flavor. Unlike Mexican tamales, which are wrapped in corn husks, tamales gisu are often presented at the fiesta table wrapped in aluminum foil or banana leaves.
1ORANGE TAMALES (Step 1)
Soak achote seeds in 1 c of water until colour has been extracted, usually overnight. discard the seeds. Sautée the bacon, garlic, and onion until transparent. Add the achote water. Add the chili peppers, salt, black pepper and a cup or two of chicken stock. Bring to a full boil and slowly stir in the cornmeal until a thick paste has been formed, roughly 10 minutes. Dilute cornstarch in 1 to 2 c water. Stir in cornstarch mixture and simmer for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir occasionally.
2WHITE TAMALES (Step 2)
Sautée the garlic and onion until transparent. add salt and a cup or two of chicken stock. bring to a full boil and slowly stir in the masa harina until a soft paste has been formed. Remove from heat. Cool both mixtures.
3ASSEMBLY (Step 3)
Wrap a couple tablespoonfuls of red tamale mixture next to a couple tablespoonfuls of white tamale mixture in a banana leaf or foil. secure well, then steam until cooked. (about 30-45 minutes)