1.02.2009

Tamale Making II!



So, you wanna make some tamales. This one's for my non-gluten friend, and anyone who has a blender, a flat surface, and a few hours to kill.

Each of these little pillows of happiness represents, oh, about 10 minutes of my life. But, they're so yummy to reheat and incredibly easy to construct.

I watched Shrek II while assembling, steaming, and tasting these. Tamales are extremely kid-friendly, what with all the sticking your hands in the masa and smearing it on the corn husk, but they may need some help tying. I made mine on the floor, and got a really great thigh/lower back workout.

This recipe is taken from Moskowitz and Romero's Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook.

Everyday Chipotle-Vegetable Tamales

Step 1: Blend, baby, blend
  • Mix the Chipotle bean filling by frying 2 T veg oil with 1 large onion (chopped), 1 clove garlic, 1 red bell pepper (chopped), 1 small carrot (chopped).
  • Let mixture cool slightly, then pour everything into blender.
  • Add 1/4 C veg broth, 2 Chipotle peppers plus 2 T adobo sauce (from canned chipotles in adobo sauce), 3 T tomato paste, and 1 t ground cumin.
  • Blend until veggies are minced into small pieces and mixture is uniform. Add 1 C frozen corn kernels and gently mix in with wooden spoon. Put blender lid on and set aside.
Step 2: Prep masa and husks
  • The husks will need to be flexible, so soak in warm water for at least 20 minutes. (I used two 4 oz packages and still had filling left over, so you may want to buy 12 oz total.)
  • In a crock pot or heavy duty pot, heat 4 C vegetable broth until comfortably warm to touch.
  • Add in 4 C masa flour, 2 t baking powder, and 1/3 C veg oil (corn oil is nice here). Mix with a wooden spoon, incorporating air until it's fluffy.
  • Keep masa dough covered until use, and husks in water.
Step 3: Assemble your tamale factory
  • Set up a big, flat space on a table or the floor (you may want to set down newspapers or brown paper underneath, as it can get messy!)
  • Put out husks in water, masa dough, filling, and lots of pre-cut string (I measured this around my hand - about 8 inches - and then cut it; about 50 to start).
Step 4: Lock and Load
  • Flatten a husk and smear a layer of masa dough slightly off center.
  • Use a spoon to add a dollup of filling over the dough.
  • Smear just a little bit more masa over the filling.
  • Start rolling the tamale, being careful not to let the filling squish out.
  • Tie off each end with string, like a candy, or fold each end in, like a present, and then tie.
  • Keep tamales covered with wet cloth until ready to steam.
Step 5: Time to fog up the windows
  • Set a shallow amount of water to boil in large pot.
  • Loosely stack tamales in steamer basket (this must fit in pot, a collander might work in a pinch).
  • Set steam basket in pot for at least an hour, covering with a lid. Check for doneness by feeling if tamale is firm.
  • Let cool before eating, as they get really hot!
  • Tamales are actually better the next day, so to reheat just steam for another 10 minutes or so.
  • Serve with enchilada sauce and some pinto beans!

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