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Vegan Tamales on a Fork

How to Make Tamales

$3.41 recipe | $0.19 serving
These easy step-by-step instructions will show you how to make tamales vegan, gluten-free, and without any hassle (even if it's your first time).
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 2 hrs
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Mexican, Vegan
Servings 18 servings
Calories 124 kcal

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl
  • Spatula
  • Steamer

Ingredients
 

Husks

  • 1 package (~25) corn husks ($1.60)

Dough

  • 3 cups masa harina ($0.38)
  • 2 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • ½ tbsp baking powder ($0.01)
  • ½ cup + 1 tbsp refined coconut oil ($1.26)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth ($0.14)

Filling

  • 2 cups filling of choice

Instructions
 

Corn husks

  • First, remove the husks from their package and separate them. Sort through them and discard any husks that have holes or damage.
  • Then, add the husks to your kitchen sink or a large bowl of hot water and soak for 30 minutes. This will make the husks more pliable and easier to work with during assembly. If they are extra dry, soak them for a few hours or overnight.

Dough

  • To a large mixing bowl, add the masa harina, salt, and baking powder. Mix together using your hands or a whisk. Then, add the room temperature coconut oil and vegetable broth and mix with your hands.
  • Continue mixing and kneading the dough until all the ingredients are well combined and the dough has a light, fluffy consistency (about 4-5 minutes).
  • Note: the dough should not be very sticky. Use the “palm trick” (slap the dough with a clean hand and if lots of dough sticks to your palm, add more oil in 1-2 tbsp at a time).

Assembly

  • Dry the husks off with a tea towel to remove excess water. Lay one flat on your counter, making sure the smooth side faces up and the wider end is closer to you.
  • Scoop 2-3 tbsp of dough onto the middle of the husk. Spread the dough towards the wide end into a thin (¼-inch thick) layer using a spatula, butter knife, or plaster knife. Top with 1-2 tbsp of filling (we used potatoes & beans tossed in adobo sauce).
  • Fold both sides of the husk towards the center to close the dough around the filling, then tuck one side of the husk underneath and fold the second side over top. Fold the bottom portion up and secure the tamal with a string of leftover husk. Continue this process until the rest of the dough, filling, and husks are gone.

Cooking

  • Prepare your pot for steaming by adding 3 cups of warm water to the bottom. Then, place the steamer rack inside and cover it with a layer of extra corn husks.
  • Begin leaning the tamales around the steamer in an upright position. Continue working inwards in a circular fashion until the pot is full.
  • Cover the tamales with another layer of corn husks and a tea towel on top. Cover your pot with the lid, bring it to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and steam the tamales for 40-45 minutes.
  • To check if they are fully cooked, remove 1 tamal at 40 minutes. Let it rest for 2-3 minutes, then attempt to open the husk. If the tamal separates from the husk easily, they are ready. If the dough still sticks to the husk, close it up and continue steaming for an additional 5-10 minutes.
  • Note: make sure to keep a close eye on the water level of your pot during steaming. You don’t want to end up with a dry pot!
  • When the tamales are finished cooking, remove them from the pot and let them rest for about 10 minutes to allow the dough to firm up. Serve the tamales while still warm on their own or with toppings. Enjoy!

Notes

  • If your corn husks are quite large, you’ll want to trim them to about 5 or 6” in diameter (this will ensure you don’t end up with massive tamales). Use the scraps for tying the other tamales and the extra-small husks for lining your pot.
  • You can also use an electric mixer with a paddle attachment to make the dough, but we don’t find it necessary.
  • Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
  • We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer
  • Calories are only for a serving of the tamal dough itself. They do not include fillings.
  • Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
  • All prices are in USD.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
How to Make Tamales
Serving Size
 
1 serving
Amount per Serving
Calories
124
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
6.8
g
10
%
Saturated Fat
 
5.3
g
33
%
Sodium
 
451.3
mg
20
%
Potassium
 
50.1
mg
1
%
Carbohydrates
 
15.1
g
5
%
Fiber
 
1.2
g
5
%
Sugar
 
0.3
g
0
%
Protein
 
1.8
g
4
%
Vitamin A
 
124.1
IU
2
%
Calcium
 
45.6
mg
5
%
Iron
 
1.5
mg
8
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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