What Do I Serve With Tamales? Do They Need A Sauce?


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Robin Burden answered
Tamales can be served as they are, with no additional side orders or sauce.

However, there's nothing to say that you shouldn't get creative and incorporate any sort of accompaniment you like!

What to serve with tamale?
I often find that Mexican-style side orders and sauces work best, because they make a meal taste more authentic.

When I was staying with a friend in Texas, he brought a batch of steamed tamales home for dinner one night. If I remember correctly, he served them with a portion of green Mexican rice (arroz verde) and refried beans (frijoles refritos).

There was also a small bowl of guacamole and a picante chili sauce on the table - although these were used as condiments.

How to serve up hot tamales
Often, tamales are served as starters by themselves, so don't require any additional side dishes. In traditional Mexican street markets, they are usually sold and eaten plain (no sauce, no nothing).

I've always preferred them with a dash of something, however - otherwise I find them a bit dry. Something like chili-infused hot dog sauce works really well, in my opinion.

You could also serve tamales along with a simple green salad, or a soup/broth might also be an interesting accompaniment.

If you're planning on making some really spicy tamales, maybe the cold tomato-based Spanish soup Gazpacho might make an excellent combination.
When I lived in Mexico they were served with frijoles [beans] but contained no sauce on the tamales...‚ô•Nassy

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