Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Vegan Tamales

Vegan Tamales
Labor of love type recipes are the ones that are special and the outcome always makes the work worth it. These dishes are usually something special and always comforting. This recipe is just that, with time and patience you will have a delish outcome for you to enjoy over and over.  Fairly easy and great to get family involved into doing will make the time fly and make the memories even sweeter. The flavor of this tamales is perfect to try and when you make them again you can switch it up and do whatever else you like inside, whether savory or sweet. Dessert tamales are very delish and always a crowd pleaser with kids, let them pick their ingredients, its all good fun. Making it fun makes the recipe taste better in the end, serve them with your favorite side and sauce. You won't regret the time you spend on these, Enjoy!

Vegan Chicken & Green Chili Tamales

(Yields: 22 to 24 Tamales)


For the Filling:
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bag vegan chicken cutlet, heated and then processed until ground.
2 small onion, finely chopped
1 bulb of garlic, minced 
4 cups water
3 teaspoons vegan chicken bouillon 
1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast 
1 (4oz) can chopped green chilies 

For the wrappers:
2 dozen dried corn husks (you may get 22 to 24 tamales depending on husk size)
For the Dough:
4 cups masa mix
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup vegetable or coconut shortening (I used coconut)
2 cups reserved, used masa liquid

For the wrappers:

Place the husks in a large bowl or container and submerge completely in hot water. Soak the husks until they are softer and pliable, 1 to 2 hours.

Soaking Corn Husk Wrappers

For Filling:

In a food processor, Add your onions and garlic that is peeled and quartered (onions) and process until lightly chopped (repeat with Vegan Chicken). This will make your life a little easier and not as many tears!

Place chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano, salt, black pepper and  into a 6-quart pot and add Place a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. Once shimmering, add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are semi-translucent, approximately 2 minutes. Add all the seasonings. Add the vegan meat, nutritional yeast, chilies and saute for a 5 more minutes. Once cooking and mixed, Add the water mixed with the bouillon and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally until the liquid has evaporated and mixture is thickened, 20 to 30 minutes. When its done reducing, set aside to cool slightly until ready to assemble.
Cooked Filling (After Reducing)

For the Dough:

Place the masa, salt, and baking powder into a mixer or a large mixing bowl and combine. Add the vegan shortening, knead together until the shortening is well incorporated into the dry mixture. Gradually add enough of the reserved cooking liquid, 2 cups to create a dough that is like thick mashed potatoes. The dough should be moist but not wet. Cover the bowl with a damp towel if not using right away and set aside until ready to use.

Completed Tamale Dough

Desired Consistency 

To assemble the tamales:

Rinse, drain, and dry the corn husks after they have sat. Set them out on a sheet pan covered by a damp towel along with the bowls of masa dough and the filling. Start with the largest husks because they are easier to roll. Lay the husk flat on a plate or in your hand and the narrow end facing you. Spread a thin, even layer of masa over the surface of the husk. DO NOT use too much! Add a tablespoon of the meat filling in the center of the masa. Fold the narrow end up to the center then fold both sides together to enclose the filling. Once all are formed, proceed to wrap each tamale in tin foil to secure the dough and filling. Once wrapped up they are ready for the pot. 

Soaked Husks in Damp Towel 

Tamale Station Set Up

Step One

Step Two

Step Three

Rolled Tamale

All Wrapped Before Tin Foil

To Steam the Tamales:

Place a steamer basket in the bottom of an 11-quart pot and add enough water to come to the bottom of the basket without filling the seam basket. Stand the tamales close together and lean them in towards the center. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat, then cover and reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Check the water level every 20 minutes, if necessary add more boiling water as needed (BE CAREFUL). Steam until the dough is firm and pulls away from the husk easily, about 1 hour.

Organized & Steaming Tamales
Serve warm with your favorite side, fresh chopped cilantro, and sauce (I used green enchilada sauce). Store leftover tamales (still wrapped),  in the freezer, for up to a month. To reheat, remove from the bag and steam until heated through. Enjoy!


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