By MICHAEL LA CORTE
Tamales originated in Mexico, but they began to take on a slightly different composition and flavor profile when they were brought to the U.S. by Mexican laborers. Understandably, there are differences between the traditional Mexican tamale and the Mississippi Delta version.
Technically, the original tamale uses masa harina, while the Delta tamale often uses cornmeal. Furthermore, the Mexican tamale is steamed and served dry, while the Delta tamale is simmered and sometimes served with the cooking liquid, which essentially becomes a sauce of sorts.
Beyond these variations in ingredients and preparation, the tamales are also quite different visually. The Delta tamale, for example, is usually served with a sauce, while the traditional tamale is served encased in its iconic husk.