It’s the most wonderful time of the year… TAMALE TIME! We have very few traditions in our growing family, but the ONE tradition we will never not do is our holy, holy ritual of making tamales. Every year, we make dozens and dozens to feed military families, church members, and friends – no matter if my husband is deployed, no matter if I’ve got a baby in an ergo (or my belly), no matter if we just moved across the country, and no matter if there’s a psychotic toddler yelling at me to trade him measuring cups just because they’re different colors… tamales are our jam. This is our third year making a vegan version of this traditional Latin dish, and in my pregnant laziness – I have made it simpler then ever!
Originally, we tried to make them in our pressure cooker, but we quickly realized that it was damaged in our move from Florida to Washington. Luckily this recipe still came out with just steaming in a large pot. Why is it always the Mexican market kitchenware that is invincible?! I also only made enough for our tiny family of three instead of our usual village sized amount of catering – bringing my ingredients down to SIX and steam time down to 30 glorious minutes… Christmas miracles really do happen – and they’re wrapped in corn husks.
- 15-20 corn husks
- 2 cups masa
- 1 cups vegetable broth (in place of meat broth)
- 1/3 cup vegetable shortening (in place of animal lard)
- 1 1/2 water (+ more as needed)
Green Chili & Cheese Filling
- 1 small can of diced green chili
- thinly sliced vegan mozzarella sticks
The first thing I do when I wake up is rinse and soak the corn husks (leaving them in a bowl submerged under water for at least two hours). In the meantime, I removed my nail polish, trimmed my nails, ate breakfast, unpacked moving boxes, had a nervous breakdown, etc. After removing the husks, I left them upright in an empty bowl to drain of whatever water as hiding – this also saves time later so you don’t have to towel dry each husk.
While making the dough, my husband was kind enough to take our toddler to the store. I only wanted clean hands mixing the masa and spreading it on the husks is extremely difficult for little ones. I took a bowl and mixed my masa flour, broth, shortening, and water together until it became easily spreadable. If it’s too dry or too wet, it is harder to apply to the smooth side of the husk – so it’s better to keep it moist little by little. By the time I ran out of dough, it only made 15 small tamales. This is probably the smallest batch I’ll EVER make, but my swollen feet and aching back don’t care, mkay!?
As usual, fill each husk and wrap those bad boys up using loose husk strands. Filling and folding are more fun for kids to do, so the bigger of an assembly line you have – the quicker they will get done. After we set the wrapped tamales upright on a steam rack in a large pot – adding about four cups of water to the bottom of the pot. Since all the ingredients are already plant-based, there’s no fear of food poisoning or it not being cooked enough – other then the masa forming.
After thirty minutes of steaming, we turned off the burners and let them cool with the pot cover off. Boom, you’ve just made the easiest, most affordable, quickest, and cruelty-free tamales EVER!
We hope you have a friggin merry Christmas.