The same as with another dishes, the tamales have been adapted to the Colombian Food traditions in its very own and particular way. Everywhere in Colombia you can find restaurants offering Tamales that are big enough to be a whole dinner or lunch for one person.
The Antioquian Tamal itself is a bit different from the tamales from other Colombian regions. Its ingredients aren’t fixed and they can be chicken, pork, pork ribs, beef, egg, carrots, green peas, bacon and the yellow corn soft dough that serves as filling. Everything is cooked inside its squared wrapping of bijao leaves. Other Colombian tamales change the corn dough for rice and can be smaller and wrapped as a bag.
The mentioned bijao leaves, that are the tamal and fiambre traditional wrapping are the leaves of a plant similar to plantain or banana. They are cut in squares and roasted so they get soft and manageable. This kind of natural wrapping gives the food a special and delicious taste, that’s why it’s use is so widely spread.
Tamales from other countries are way smaller than the Colombian ones, they are wrapped in corn husks and are made of less tasty but sweet dough. These foreign style tamales can be found in Colombia as well under different names like bollo or envuelto (Wrap) and they are used as snack or part of the breakfast in places like Barranquilla or Boyaca, respectively.
The Antioquian Tamal is a lunch main course and it’s very much appreciated for its taste, quality and quantity of ingredients.