Gringo Vegan Tamales
All my sister-in-law’s family gets together with the WHOLE FAMILY to create tamales... but they use lard, meat and pork. So I'm never part of the creation process, but I watch. So after asking lots of questions about their recipe, I decided to experiment and try my hand at recreating some vegan tamales that I use to buy in the freezer section of a Honolulu vegan market. This is a bit of WORK, but you can FREEZE them and it is worth every minute spent. And you’ll never buy another frozen tamale!
Yield: 18 large vegan tamales
Ingredients for Gringo Vegan Tamale Wrappers
1 package of Los Chileros Dried Corn Husks
Ingredients for Gringo Vegan Tamale Filling
1 onion, finely diced
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
3 Field Roast Chorizo Sausage Links, crumbled or 1 package Beyond Meat Feisty Beef-Free Crumbles
1 cup pre-cooked organic black or pinto beans, or combination of both
1 package Daiya's Mozzarella or Pepper Jack Cheese
1/2 block Sprouted Organic Wildwood Firm Tofu, crumbled
optional: jalapeño, finely diced
HINT: Any filling leftovers can be used for a Breakfast Burrito.
Ingredients for Gringo Vegan Tamale Masa
1 1/4 cups Jarrow Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
4 cups Bob's Red Mill Masa Harina
2 teaspoons Bob's Red Mill Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 cups Imagine No-Chicken Soup
1/2 cup lime or lemon juice, fresh squeezed
optional: 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
Cuisinart Food Processor, S-knife blade
2 large mixing bowls
water tea kettle
long handled spoon
large steamer with basket insert
cast iron skillet
Presto 6-Quart Pressure Cooker or Fissler Vitaquick Pressure Cooker
Boil a kettle full of water.
Open the corn husks, place in a large bowl and pour the boiling water over the husks... use a plate to keep all the husks submerged.
Set this bowl aside and let the corn husks soak for at least 30 minutes.
Dried Corn Husks Soaking in Boiling Water - Soak 30 Minutes Submerged
Creamy Bob's Red Mill Masa for Gringo Vegan Tamales
In the Cuisinart Food Processor fitted with the knife blade, add all the dry ingredients pulse a free times to distribute.
Add the Jarrow Coconut Oil and pulse several times to distribute.
With the Cuisinart Food Processor running, add the lime juice and Imagine No-Chicken Broth and process till the mixture is smooth and creamy… like a very thick cake batter.
In a large cast iron skillet sprayed with a non-stick oil spray.
Cook the onions until translucent over medium or low heat.
Add the Field Roast Chorizo links… sans plastic wrappers. Crumble the links into small bits and sauté.
Crumble the organic fresh firm tofu into the fry pan and stir till thoroughly mixed with the onions and chorizo bits.
Open a bag of grated Diaya Mozzarella Cheese… or vegan cheese of your choice grate and set aside.
The Corn Husks
Pour off all the water from the soaking corn husks.
Pat dry with a kitchen towel and lay on top of a towel.
Select two or three of the longest corn husks and tear them lengthwise... these strips may be used to tie any tamales that won't stay closed.
Assemble the Gringo Vegan Tamales
Select a corn husk and place about 2 heaping tablespoons of masa on the husk.
Field Roast Chorizo, Tofu, Black Beans and Daiya Cheese Filling
Mash the masa with your fingers or use an offset spatula to smear an 1/8 inch layer over the corn husk. Leave space at the top and bottom to allow room to fold the edges.
I used an offset spatula, but a zip-lock bag cut open and pressed over the masa is FASTER. Just press the masa out with your fingers and palm, then lift the plastic off… viola!
Filling: Field Roast Chorizo, Tofu, Black Beans
Vegan Gringo Tamale Filled with Beyond Meat Feisty Beef Crumbles, Black Beans & Daiya Cheese
Add a heaping tablespoon of the filling mixture onto the masa covered husk.
Add a teaspoon of the vegan cheese.
Bring the sides of the corn husk up and press the corn husk over the filling... fold the ends under and tie the entire tamale package with a corn husk strip.
I’ve seen all kinds of weird ways people are rolling the tamales! But hopefully I can demonstrate an easy and reliable way to roll the tamales that is fail proof.
Remember that the masa will not stick to the wet corn husk. So bring up the sides and pinch the masa so it touches the opposite side. Now, roll the husk over the log shape and fold up the bottom. Add a bit more masa to the end if the filling is exposed.
It is NOT necessary to tie the tamales, but it does make a great presentation on a plate or platter. It's like a little secret gift waiting to be opened!
Continue wrapping till your pressure cooker is filled… this recipe makes 18 tamales.
14 Gringo Vegan Tamales FIT in a 6-Quart Presto Pressure Cooker
Pressure Steam the Tamales
I steam my tamales in a Presto Stainless Steel 6-Quart Pressure Cooker fitted with an OXO Good Grips Pop-Up Steamer Basket.
Add 2 cups of filtered water to the pressure cooker with the steamer basket next… add the tamales.
Over high heat, bring the Presto Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker to steam with the “rocker” hissing, then turn it down to a lower heat, but maintaining a steady hissing steam through the rocker on top of the cooker.
Start the timer once the rocker begins hissing and cook under pressure for 8 minutes.
Turn the heat OFF and let the pressure cooker rest till all the steam is released naturally and the vent buttons recess… this is called “Natural Release.”
Traditional Steam for the Tamales
Use a traditional steamer filled with tamales and boiling water beneath.
Traditional steamers will take about one hour and 15 minutes to cook the tamales.
Cover the steamer and during the steaming process, check the steamer water often to insure the water level is sufficient, but not touching the tamales.
Test for doneness... after one hour, take one tamale and open it to test for doneness. The tamale should show indentations like those in the corn husks and the masa should hold its shape when the husk is pulled open.
While the tamales are steaming, clean your area and start preparations for the avocados, salsa, rice, salad and refried beans.
To Wrap or Unwrap
For photographs, the corn husk wrappers look pretty, but I prefer not to have the corn wrapper on my plate… it just gets in the way! But it does add a bit of mystery for a dinner party plate presentation. Everyone gets to open their “surprise package” right on their plate. So I leave it to you to decide whether to plate them closed or naked!
My plate has RAW Cashew Sour Cream, fresh avocado slices, Mexican Rice, Salsa de Pico, and a lettuce salad to compliment each mouthful of my precious Gringo Vegan Tamales.
For a party appetizer, make the Gringo Vegan Tamales in smaller bite-sizes that can be handled with fingers or as a bite item for an appetizer plate.
Fresh Organic Corn Husks
In the summertime, if you buy organic fresh corn, save the larger husks and use them for an even more flavorful tamale. The full flavor of summertime corn will penetrate each tamale.
Gringo Vegan Tamale After Presto Pressure Cooking for 20 Minutes
Gringo Vegan Tamale Unwrapped After Presto Pressure Cooking for 20 Minutes
A Perfect Gringo Vegan Tamale
I’m lazy, so instead of dragging out the steamer basket and pot and lid, I use a fry pan with about 1/4 cup of Imagine No-Chicken Broth and place the tamales right on top… wrapper and all over medium high heat with a lid. I turn the tamales every minute or so for about five minutes then I add two servings of my leftover Mexican Rice with a bit more of the Broth and cover the pan with a lid again. After getting the Salsa, RAW Cashew Sour Cream, avocado slices and plates arranged, the contents of the tamale fry pan are HOT and ready to eat.
Remove the husks from the tamales and plate, along with the Mexican Rice. Add the RAW Cashew Sour Cream, Salsa, and avocado slices and dinner is SERVED!
HINT: Mexican Style Refried Beans are also a great side dish with tamales.
Freeze the Gringo Vegan Tamales
Gringo Vegan Tamales may be frozen and heated as needed... and they taste like you just made them when reheated.
For instant Mexican meals, cool the tamales, and place in zip-lock freezer bags. Press as much air out of the bag as possible and lay flat in the freezer. Now you can steam or pan reheat the tamales as needed. Forget frozen store-bought tamales… these are far superior in taste!
HINT: If you have a FoodSaver Handheld Vacuum Sealer,
use it to remove all the air from the FoodSaver 1-Gallon Zipper Food Storage Bags
to prevent freezer burn.
Congratulations on completing Gringo Vegan Tamales!
RAW Vegan Sour Cream
Salsa de Pico
Presto Pressure Cooker
Fissler Pressure Cooker
How to Cook Dried Beans