South Texans know when the weather finally cools and sweaters come out of the closet that keeping cozy and comfortable will mean tamales. Truly one of the best comfort foods for our winter months, unwrapping a hot tamale is like pulling a fresh-from-the-dryer comforter over you as you settle in for movie night.
Tejano Salsa and Tamales a Mano has been serving up some of the best tamales and salsa in Houston for over 27 years. Run by the affable and kind Henry Riojas, Tejano Salsa and Tamales a Mano are staples for the entire city of Houston and southwest Texas. The fact that the company began and thrives today in our very own Brays Oaks Management District is a wonderful bonus for southwest Houston.
“I was my moms official taster when I was young,” says Henry, when asked how he got started making tamales. “I always thought that there needed to be more meat, so I tweaked her recipes a little.” Accordingly, you will notice that they are hearty and well proportioned. You also have many different tamale options, to please everyone: pork, chicken, beef, spinach and corn, and portobello mushroom. Sold by the dozen, the pork and chicken tamales are the biggest sellers, while portobello and the queso fresco are the non-traditional favorites.
The biggest challenge in making tamales is making the masa. “Making the masa takes some time.” notes Henry with a chuckle, “I used to help in the kitchen and show the staff how, but eventually the ladies kicked me out once they got it down.” Still laughing he said “Shoot, I’m an eater not a chef anyway.”
Early in October of this year, as Houston’s interminable summer dragged on and on, Henry noticed that his business seemed slow. He decided to reach out to the public by posting on his local NextDoor page, reminding folks of his location and asking those who had never visited to give his tamales a try. The Brays Oaks Management District community took note. A special gumbo and queso tasting event later in the month drew overwhelming support from neighbors and friends. A steady stream of customers gathered at Henry’s shop on the southwest corner of West Bellfort and Chimney Rock, such that they started to sell out of tamales around 1pm. (Don’t worry, they kept busy cooking and were back to normal inventory by the end of the weekend, but you should get your holiday orders in soon!)
In addition to tamales they also make great tortilla chips and one of the best traditional hot sauces you can find. The hot sauce is used all over Texas. You can even find it on the shelves in Kroger grocery stores. Warmed just a touch and it is the perfect topping on your favorite tamales–great on eggs too. Whether you steam them, pan fry, or microwave (Pro Tip: wrap tamales in damp paper towel) you will be satisfied and comforted by the savory taste and homemade goodness of Henry’s tamales.
Get your holiday orders placed soon by giving them a call!
Tamales a Mano -Tejano Salsa
5361 W Bellfort Blvd, Houston, TX 77035