Tamales don't lie

Last night after dinner, my friend Belinda and I decided we were going to spend the day today making tamales! I have never made a tamale be...

Last night after dinner, my friend Belinda and I decided we were going to spend the day today making tamales! I have never made a tamale before, nor even eaten one. Belinda makes them with her family, but she's never made or probably had a vegan tamale. So today we both set sail in uncharted territory. I began by first making 8 loaves of seitan before Belinda arrived, as we would need it for the filling. I am getting pretty good at seitan-making. I used to have mixed results every time, but now my seitan results have stabilized! I wrap them in a foil packet in a sort of "en-papiote" style, and lay them directly on the oven racks in the oven and leave it there for about 45 minutes. Then I let them steam on the counter top for at least 30 more minutes before putting them in the frigde for later use. I've had success and non-success with the steaming method, where you wrap them in a similar package and steam instead of bake. Sometimes this works out great, other times I open the package and it turns out that I've made brains. An out of control spongy mess has burst through portions of the foil and all of my hard work and expensive ingredients are lost. You can only have that happen to you a few times before you throw that method out the window and try a new one.

We decided to make 2 kinds of tamales, a savory and a sweet. We also agreed that it would take almost the exact same amount of work to make 30 tamales as it would to make 100. So we opted for the latter. Bonus tamales never lie. The savory filling we chose was the red-chile seitan from Viva Vegan. The filling is a fajita-like mixture with diced and fried seitan with a dried red chile sauce mixed in. The chile sauce is made from reconstituted ancho chiles and we snuck in a handful of chiles de arbol because we are spicy ladies. Needless to say the sauce rocked the house. Then Belinda and I set up our wrap-station and she demonstrated how to effectively stuff, wrap, form and fold a tamale like a true punk would. Observe the sequence:


Done! And don't they just look adorable all tied up? It looks like a little present. The BEST kind of present. Everybody knows the best kinds of presents come wrapped in corn husks after being steamed by cute vegetarian girls. 

These ones are wrapped especially cute, kind of like a little ball or bell or something to that effect and then twisted into a little rose and knotted. We thought it would be cute to wrap the dessert tamales in different way. I tried and tried and failed and failed and then just decided I was going 'traditional-wrap' on all the tamales. Belinda, however, mastered the adorable bell-shape and is responsible for all the added cuteness of these tamales.

You can't exactly tell, but there are about 100 of these in this pot. We went to town on them and now there are only about 60 left to freeze or refrigerate for later. The boys both helped on the town-going of these tamales as well. We served them with extra red chile sauce and guacamole, and tore those tamales up.

The dessert flavor we picked was Pineapple Coconut Raisin from Viva Vegan and I made a ganache to spoon over the top. The dough is all brown-sugary and awesome. I tackled a couple of these before dinner, and by a couple I mean 3, and so I had less space for more tamales come dinnertime, and everyone thought I was dainty and had a small appetite. Little did they know I pre-gamed on all of them.

So now the tamale-making door has been opened and now I aspire to make all kinds of tamales, sweet and savory, night and day, holiday or weeknight, in good times and in bad, tamales will play a prominent role in my life from here on. That is, when I'm not making cupcakes. Or pie.

You Might Also Like