Tamales seem to be one of those foods that everyone loves – but they can seem a little daunting to make, so they often get saved for special occasions out to a Mexican restaurant. But in her new e-book Vegan Tamales Unwrapped Dora Stone unravels the mystery around making tamales – and vegan ones at that! This is a book you will want to get your hands on if you are a tamal-lover and want to try your hand at making them at home.
This book truly is a step-by-step guide to tamales. It takes you through making the dough, wrapping and cooking the tamales, preparing the steamer, as well as serving, storing and even reheating tamales successfully. There are a variety of savory and sweet tamal recipes – some of which we have been sharing on the Vegan Mainstream Cookbook Club over the past week.
The book is written in a friendly, easy way, and there are tips on where to find ingredients, the best ones to buy, and so much more. With plenty of pictures to take you through the steps, you shouldn’t be left wondering at any stage of the game. Because making tamales can be a longer process, Stone also provides tips on the process if you want to stretch it out over the course of two or three days. From potato and mushroom tamales to strawberry, blackberry and lime, this book had my tummy rumbling, and it inspired me to host a tamales party of my very own!
And to get you inspired, today we are sharing one more recipe from Vegan Tamales Unwrapped:
Vegan Chocolate Tamales
Time: 2 – 3 hours
|1 cup (8 oz.)||Vegan butter, room temperature|
|1/3 cup||Sugar, granulated|
|4 cups (1 lb. 2 oz.)||Masa Harina|
|1 ½ tsp.||Baking powder|
|1 tsp.||Salt, kosher|
|1 ½ cups (9 oz.)||Mexican chocolate, ground|
|½ tsp.||Cinnamon, ground|
|2 cups||Almond milk, unsweetened, warm|
|2 cups||Water, warm|
|½ cup||Pecans, chopped|
|2 cups||Chocolate chips, bittersweet|
|30||Corn husks, dried|
- To prepare the corn husks: Soak the corn husks in hot water, in a large pot or in your kitchen sink. Place a plate over them to weigh them down so they are completely submerged. Let them soak for at least an hour.
- To make the filling: chop the Mexican chocolate into small pieces and grind to a powder in the food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the chocolate with a standard kitchen grater.
- To make the dough: beat the butter and sugar, on medium-high speed, with an electric mixer, until the butter has doubled in size and is nice and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the Mexican chocolate, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and beat for 1 minute to incorporate into the butter.
- Add half of the masa harina then add the almond milk. After it is completely incorporated, add the other half of masa harina and water. Beat at low speed, until thoroughly mixed. It should have the consistency of a thick cake batter. If necessary, add more water until you reach that consistency.
- For lighter and fluffier tamales, let the dough rest for an hour in the refrigerator. Remove the dough from the fridge and rebeat it, adding enough liquid to get it to the consistency it had before.
- Remove the corn husks from the water and set on paper towels. Reserve the largest husks to wrap the tamales and the small ones to line the steamer.
- To set up your steamer, fill the bottom with water making sure the water is not touching the steamer rack. Line the rack and sides of the steamer pot with corn husks. Set aside.
- To wrap the tamales, pull 24 pencil thin strips off of the corn husks and set aside. Take a husk and dry off the excess water on it with a paper towel. Place the husk in your hand with the tapered side away from you and the smooth side up. Using a spoon, spread 2-3 tbsp. of the dough (¼ inch thick) onto the corn husk, forming a 3 – 4 inch square. Leave a border of at least 3/4 inch on each side of the square.
- Place 5-10 chocolate chips, and a sprinkle of chopped pecans in the center of the dough. Bring the two long sides of the corn husk together, this will cause the masa to surround the filling, and roll them in the same direction around the tamal. (If the husk is too small, fold one of the long sides towards the center, and then fold the other long side on top.) Fold down the empty tapered section of the corn husk, forming a closed bottom. This will leave the top of the tamal open. Tie with a corn husk strip to secure the bottom of the tamal.
- Place the tamal in the steamer vertically leaning against the side of the steamer, with the open end on top. Repeat this process until you run out of dough and all the tamales are in the steamer. Cover them with a layer of corn husks. If the steamer is not full, fill the empty spaces with more corn husks. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Turn heat down to medium and cook for 40 minutes. Check the tamales, when they separate easily from the corn husk it means they are done. If they are not done, steam for 10 more minutes and check again.
- Remove steamer from the heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes. Uncover and let cool for at least an hour. Don’t be alarmed if the tamales seem really soft. As they cool, they will firm up.
If you would like to make these with fresh masa, replace the masa harina with 2 lbs. of fresh masa and reduce liquid to ¾ cup. To substitute the fat you can use 8 oz. of coconut oil. For tamales without fat use 8 oz. of cooked, unsweetened pumpkin.
Recipe and photo from Vegan Tamales Unwrapped by Dora Stone.
Dora is the founder, recipe developer, and photographer at Dora’s Table and Mi Mero Mole. Born and raised in Mexico and a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York, she adopted a vegan (plant-based) diet to take control of her health. She is passionate about teaching others the benefit of a plant-based lifestyle while preserving the beauty and richness of the different regional cuisines of Mexico and what they represent.
You can find more of her recipes on Dora’s Table or if you speak Spanish at Mi Mero Mole.