After the high of the Macaroni & Cheese I got from Aldi’s liveGfree line, I went temporarily insane and bought approximately one billion of their products the last time I went grocery shopping. These Chicken Roja Tamale Bites were one of the casualties. Surprisingly, from all of the products I’ve gotten from this gluten free line, this is the only one so far that I’ve had any complaint with. I’m not sure if it’s a legitimate complaint, though – I think I had different expectations for what these were from what they actually turned out to be. I had a friend in Memphis who would make a massive batch of tamales every year with her mother and sisters. She would kindly bring me 10 tamales to work with her and they were always amazing. So my views are pretty skewed.
For what these were, they were pretty good. Imagine those crunchy corn nuggets you used to be served in your elementary school cafeteria. Now replace the gross corn with delicious slightly spicy shredded chicken filling and replace the batter with a masa harina batter. Sounds delicious, right? Well, they were. I think what threw me off (spitting in the face of my normally logical person) was I was weirdly expecting the steamed texture of tamales when the instructions call for baking the bites. Since they’re baked, they have that crunchy exterior I equate with corn nuggets. They did take longer to bake than the box called for – it suggested 15 minutes baking time and they were still doughy at that point. I lowered the temperature to 325* and baked them for 10-15 minutes longer and they were perfect.