Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Aug 24, 2010 07:23 PM

Amazing tamales de Chipilín found at La Adelita!

Haven’t been at La Adelita ( Pico & Union ) in years.

Yesterday (Monday) stopped by.

Bought some of their excellent fried plantains ( a.k.a. tajadas, tostones, patacones,... I never know which ). Grabbed a pack of tortillas. A bag of gorditas. Some other stuff.

Then suddenly... lo and behold! Near the cashier, intermingled with the above mentioned goods, a tray of tamales. Or rather, suspicious looking young fellows wrapped in aluminum foil.

I asked, pointing my finger at them: “De qué son?”

Answer came swift: “De chipilín”.

I said to myself “Pibil”, ok, let’s try it. Bought two.

Total bill (including tax) for the tortillas, the gorditas, the tamales, plus some awful kind of nacatamal, $7 bucks and feria.

Ok, it wasn’t pibil. It was chipilín.

What is chipilín? Gatekeepers will censor unmercifully any attempt (of mine, at least) at copypasteing long sentences. Suffice to say: “Chipilín is not cultivated on an agricultural scale; it's something you might find at farmers' markets, in home gardens, and growing in the wild. Both the leaves and the flowers are edible, though the leaves don't develop much of a taste until cooked. We recently tried chipilín in a Oaxacan rice recipe. It was pleasantly pungent and herbaceous – not overwhelming but enough to add some depth to the dish.”

End result of the masa, cooked with some chicken broth, the amazing chipilín flavors and the meat filling ( Pork? Chicken? Ver veisst...) was spec-tacular. Refined, subtle, a-mazing.

This is first time I see tamales right next to the tortillas. Do they make them daily? Daily specials? Only way to know: I’m planning to be back. Soon.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Chipilin. When I was a kid, my grandparents from Sonora would come back to the States with a small bag of those little chiles. I know that they grow wild in desert climates. They would use the small round chiles to flavor soups such as Albondigas and Menudo, as well as to cook stewed meat dishes such as Chile Colorado. I had heard about the Chipilin tamales, but have never tried them nor tasted the leaves. Thanks for the heads up.

    1. Is chipilin the same as the plant referred to as chiltepin (Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum)?

      Thanks for any info, the names for chiles are confusing and vary widely according to regional differences. I love learning as much as possible about the subject.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Gypsy Jan

        Technical name is Crotalaria longirostrata.
        Other common names include Chepil, Chepilin, and Longbeak Rattlebox.
        It's not a chile, what is used of the plant are the leaves.
        More info in this Wiki article: