Saturday, January 15, 2011

Vegan Tamales

   I have been making vegan tamales since I became a vegan years ago. I Love tamales not just because they are delicious but for many other reasons too.  Tamales are a traditional Hispanic meal. On Holidays and special occasions the entire family will participate in making tamales. It is considered a family tradition in the Hispanic culture. I appreciate and admire their culture very much. Being born and having lived in California for 20 years I was exposed to a lot of  authentic Mexican food and miss it very much. One of my favorite smells is the smell of steaming tamales filling my home. Isn't it awesome how certain smells can trigger past memories. So making tamales is my way of remembering and reminiscing the amazing food and experiences I had in California. Tamales are fairly easy to make but you should plan on spending a few hours in the kitchen because they are time consuming. I guess by now you may be be wondering why I am doing a cooking blog on cooking when my blog is centered on crafts. Well my friend Kaleena asked me if I would do a guest post for her on her cooking blog and I loved the Idea. So I would like to say Thank You to Kaleena for letting me share my favorite recipe her and her followers. I hope you enjoy making tamales as much as I do.

You will need 

Corn Husks
A few large bowls
A large/tall steamer pot
Or if you don't have a steamer insert  you can do it the Mexican way and use a large/tall pot and a disposable aluminum casserole pan flip it upside down and punch a bunch of holes in it with a fork or knife. Personally I like to use a knitting needle. Hows that for being crafty and frugal in the kitchen! P.s. don't throw it away you can save it and use it to steam practically anything!

For the Masa
4 cups Masa Herina or Masa Flour
1 cup softened vegan margarine
1 tbs baking soda
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
salt to taste
approximately 3 cups HOT water.

For the Filling
1 box Spanish rice and diced tomatoes
1 jar tamatillo salsa
1 package of Soyrizo  ( I used Melissa's)
1 package of Field Roast Mexican Chipotle style sausage (Chopped)
2 cans chopped green chilies

(makes approximately 30)


       First you will need to boil  6-8 cups of water. While you are waiting for the water to boil you will want to separate and clean your corn husks. I usually only use about half of the package. Once you have them separated and cleaned place them in a large bowl and pour the boiling water over them. You will want to let them soak for at least an hour. ( Tip: Often the corn husks will float above the water level so I will place another large bowl on top of them with a few canned goods inside the bowl to way it down. This will ensure that all the husks get submersed in the water.) Set aside.
       To prepare the filling you should start by making the Spanish rice according to directions. In another large bowl or pot you will want to add all the filling ingredients and mix together. Once the rice is finished cooking you will add that to the filling and mix well. Set aside.

       To prepare the masa  you will want to start by adding the cup of softened butter to a large bowl. Personally I like to mix in the butter with the masa flour first. it will get crumbly. Then I add the spices and baking soda and Hot water but add just one cup of water at a time. I enjoy using my hands to mix the masa but you can use a spoon or a mixer.  ( Tip: You may not need to use all the water the end result of the mix should the the consistency of really thick peanut butter and easy to mold.)

        To assemble the tamale you will want to take a corn husk and lay it flat. You can spread on the masa with a spoon or you can use your hands. Again I prefer my hands though. You will want to use about 2 tbs of masa mix and spread it from the top but leave room at the bottom to fold.  You will want the mix to cover about 2/3 width wise. Then you will add a scoop of the filling and fold the husk. (see pictures below.)

         ( Tip: Some of the corn husks are smaller you can take two small corn husks and layer them together to form a bigger husk. Don't get to technically thought they do not each have to be identical with exact measurements. You can make every one a different size it does not matter.)
Once you have all of your tamales assembles you will want to place them in the steamer pot. Leave at least an inch of space between the tamales and the water level in the pot. You do not want them to touch the water. Cover pot with a lid but leave room for steam to escape and steam for 1 hour and 15 minuets to and hour and a half. Once done you should allow to sit for at least a half hour before eating! Enjoy

          A few more things before I go. Tamales are excellent reheated the next day. They are one of those few meals that are even better after they sit over night. Also if you end up with any filling leftovers (I always have some) save it for taco night! It makes a great taco filling as well. Again Thanks to Kaleena and to her followers I really enjoyed doing this guest post!

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