Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hot tamale n.

also tamale
[hot adj. (8b)/hot adj. (1c) + Sp. tamale, a Mexican dish consisting of corn husks wrapped around a variety of fillings; note hot tomato under tomato n.]

1. [late 19C–1930s] (US, also hot tomale) a clever person, often used ironically.

2. [late 19C+] (US, also hot tomolley) an attractive, sexy, young woman.

3. [1920s+] (US gay, also hot enchilada) a Hispanic homosexual man.