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A Taste of Diversity: Dell’s Culinary Cookbook Featuring Gabi

Gabriela B. | TA Acquisition Advisor | Panama

Originally Published: December 6th, 2023


I am Gabriela from Panama, and I’m part of the Talent Acquisition team for LATAM. End of year holidays is my favorite time of the year, and the food is a big part of my family’s celebrations. Even though I am part of a small family (only me, my mom and dad, and our dogs), we have always prepared enough food to be shared with our neighbors and friends during the holidays. This has been our tradition for three generations now.

The Story Behind the Dish

There are no holidays without tamales in Panama. It doesn’t matter which part of the country you are from - you will always have tamales in your Christmas dinner. There are some discussions about the original recipe, if it should have raisins or not, and this is a question that we will have to live with forever. However, what we all agree on is that tamales equal Christmas.

The Dish: Tamales


  • Corn dough: cooked and ground
  • Bijao leaves: smoked.
  • Annatto oil: this is key Panamanian flavor.
  • Onion
  • Coriander: also, key Panamanian flavor.
  • Panamanian tomato sauce
  • Raisins: you can avoid them if you don’t like them (in my case I am team no raisins)
  • chicken or pork: only one is needed.


  • For the protein: marinate the selected protein with annatto oil, coriander, salt, and pepper, then cook in a pan and set aside.
  • For the stir-fry: chop the onions and prepare a sauce using annatto oil, salt and cilantro until the onions soften and set aside.
  • And finally for the stew: mix a little of the previous sauce and add the Panamanian-style tomato sauce, add a little water, cilantro, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

At this point we will ready the have stew, stir-fry and the protein. Now is time to prepare the dough.

  • For the dough: mix the corn dough in a bowl and add the stew liquid little by little until you achieve a thick, pasty texture.

Now the tamales will be assembled.

  • Take a little dough and placed on the smoked bijao leaf, then the protein, then the stir-fry on top of it, some olives on top and close the tamal with the leaf and the thread.

Finally, cook the tamal in boiling water for 20 minutes and it is ready to enjoy!

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