Bacán or Guanimo . Considered as a dish of the mambises, it has been somewhat popularized by the Elpidio Valdés comics . However, in the Caribbean area of South America there is a whole culture around the use of plantain as an ingredient for tamales. Although its true roots, those of the corn tamale come from the Mayans and the Aztecs.


[ hide ]

  • 1 Definitions
  • 2 Origin
    • 1 Cuban origin
  • 3 Ingredients
    • 1 Preparation
  • 4 Bakan
    • 1 Preparation
  • 5 Bakan or green banana cake
    • 1 Preparation
  • 6 See also
  • 7 Sources


  • The tamale (from the Nahuatl tamalli, which means wrapped) is a generic name given to several American dishes of indigenous origin, generally prepared with corn dough normally cooked by steaming, wrapped in cob leaves of the same corn or banana plant, mashán or bijao, maguey, avocado, canak and even aluminum foil or plastic. They may or may not have a filling, which may contain meat, vegetables, chili, fruit, sauce, etc. They can also have a sweet or salty taste.
  • Tamal . (From the nahua tamalli). m. Am. Species of cornmeal dough pie, wrapped in banana leaves or corn on the cob, and steamed or baked. There are them of diverse classes, according to the delicacy that is put inside and the ingredients that are added to it.
  • Tamale: Preparation based on crushed tender corn with filling, wrapped in cob leaves and cooked.
  • Tallullo (Cubanism): Preparation based on crushed young corn without filling, wrapped in banana leaves and cooked.
  • Hayaca: Preparation based on crushed tender corn without filling, wrapped in cob leaves and cooked.
  • Hayaca or Hallaca ( Venezuela ) Preparation based on corn with chicken broth and stuffed with a mixture of beef, pork, chicken or hen, olives, raisins, almonds, capers, paprika and onion, wrapped rectangularly in leaves banana or bijao.


There is evidence that the predominant cultures in Mexico that brought corn to other cultures and regions also carried dishes and ways to cook corn. As the tamale is a simple method of cooking corn, it is possible to think that it could have been invented in any of the possible origin regions of corn, that is, from Mexico to South America and from there taken to other cultures and regions.

Tamales are described in Mexico by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún in General History of Things of New Spain in the early sixteenth century . But today it is assumed that there are between 500 and 1,000 different recipes for tamales in Mexico.

For Peruvians, the origin of the dish ( Hallaca ) dates back to the years of colonization by Spain , the 15th and 16th centuries, with its invention being legendary attributed to indigenous slaves and servants, who collected the remains of the preparations of their oppressors to assemble a heterogeneous dish that would serve as extra food to their usual meals. More likely, this same typical Venezuelan dish came from the Spanish efforts to “improve” the tamale, among other pre-Columbian dishes, by expanding the ingredients that made up the filling.

In the book Lexicón or Vocabulary of the general Spanish language of Peru , composed by Fray Domingo de Santo Tomás and published in Valladolid in 1560 , the word Halca is exposed as being of Quichua origin and defined as a tender chicken «generally bird, before have a pen ». In view of the trajectory of that word, it does not seem plausible that it is the precursor of the current word, also evidenced by the notes of Marcos Augusto Morínigo in his Dictionary of Americanisms ( 1985 ), which relates the Hallaca to the Ayaca of the Tupi languages -guaraní, which means bundle, mess and lately basket in the southwestern guaraní language

Cuban origin

The origin of the Cuban bacán seems to have been brought to the Cuban East by the same Caribbean or “Yucatecan” immigrants; because there is no relationship from the colonial era before the 16th century that tells us about another indigenous heritage, except for the corn stew or the ajiaco. But this is also applicable to the corn tamale whose entry into our country is also very doubtful.

In addition we must remember things that are also applicable for the rest of Central America and the Caribbean area . Banana (Musa paradisiaca) is of Indian and Malaysian origin . While the coconut (Cocos nucifera) also appears to be from the same region. This assures us that the bacán must not have appeared in Cuba before the 18th century .

However, at present this is practically a recipe transmitted from mothers to daughters (or by paternal line) in the eastern regions with a very slow and almost insignificant advance in the central and western area of ​​the Island.


  • A large banana fruit hand (immune guineo)
  • A dried coconut
  • 2 pounds of pork
  • 6 capsicum peppers
  • 4 chay peppers
  • 4 hot peppers or equivalent tabasco sauce
  • 2 medium onions
  • 6 garlic cloves or to taste
  • Basil to taste
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Cumin to taste
  • Oregano to taste
  • Lemon or sour orange juice (to marinate meat)
  • Banana leaves to wrap
  • Water enough to boil them


Pork meat is chopped into more or less thick pieces, and marinated for at least an hour before starting to work the plantain. Grate the green bananas (bananas), add the coconut milk (some add the grated coconut dough) kneading it.

A sauce is prepared, with the spices to taste in which the pieces of pork are fried, once they are more or less fried, the pieces are removed and set aside. The sofrito that remains is combined with the banana and coconut dough.

The banana leaves are dizzy from the steam of direct fire from an electric burner or another to make them handy. Meanwhile, when the guanimos (bacán) are to be assembled, the water is brought to a boil for the last cooking and to which an adequate point of salt must be put. The leaves are cut to the right size to make the wrap (like a tamale) and tied with strips from the same sheet or by other means.

When you put the dough to it, you put one or two pieces of the fried pork meat. After about 30 or 45 minutes in the water, check with a stick to prick the guanimos if the dough is hard.

Another way to know if they are already is by smell, but for this you must already have experience, and there is one last and almost extreme way to try them. Like the tamale in casserole , there is the variant of the lost bacán or (Bacán en cazuela). But the latter is cooked over low heat without wrapping, so the process is lengthened.


(Traditional dishes and new creations)

  • Green fruit bananas ,
  • Coconut milk
  • Streaky pork
  • Onion
  • Chili pepper
  • Garlic
  • Cooking Tomatoes
  • Oil
  • Lemon


Cut the meat into cubes of approximately 2 centimeters, cut the spices finely. Peel the banana and grate. Pass the banana leaf through boiling water until it wilts so that it does not break. Mix the coconut milk, the lemon, the salt and the grated banana. Sauté the pork, add the spices and sweat until it wilts. Add the grated banana and mix everything well. Form cartuchitos with the banana leaves, fill and wrap, proceeding in the same way as to make tamales in leaves.

Bakan or green banana cake

(Very traditional dish from the time of the mambises) (Creole Menu

  • 4 boiled green bananas
  • 1 pound pork, fried, chopped
  • Sofrito
  • Banana leaves to wrap
  • Water as necessary


Crush the bananas and join them with the meat. Season all to taste or add the sofrito. Wrap them in the banana leaves. Put them in boiling water for about 10-12 minutes.


Leave a Comment