Saturday, May 28, 2016

Vegetarian Green Chile Tamales

A bit of background information:

We got married in 1994.  My husband left Chennai a couple of days after the wedding, because he had exhausted all his vacation.  I joined him in Colorado a couple of months later.  Boulder was a great place – several Indian and Nepali restaurants, and overall very vegetarian friendly.

Since my husband had no time off, we traveled as much as we could on weekends.  Our first trip – Manitou Springs, about an hour and a half south of Boulder.  Definitely not vegetarian friendly!  My husband ended up getting me bean burritos from Taco Bell for dinner.  I still tease him about it – honeymoon dinner from Taco Bell :)


On one of our many trips, we went to Taos, New Mexico.  I love Taos. The town boasts several art galleries, and Native American culture is evident in the food, music, and architecture

It was in Taos that I first tasted tamales.  These were the days before Yelp! and Urbanspoon.  We had to find restaurants that served vegetarian food the old fashioned way – by looking them up in the yellow pages.

I ordered vegetarian tamales at this small place we found.  They were so delicious!  Little did I know that I had stumbled upon one of the few places that served vegetarian tamales.  Most places use lard to make the masa.

With fond memories of my experience, we tried to find this place again on our next trip to Taos, only to find out that it had closed.

Now, back to the present:

I have made tamales a few times at home.  They are a bit time consuming to make, and I normally don't make them for parties.  But my son was coming back home after a semester abroad and was craving Mexican food.  We were going to have a few close friends over for dinner.  And since it wasn’t a big crowd, I made tamales. 

I also had a vegetarian soup, a taco bar, Mexican rice, couple of types of homemade salsas, and fajita vegetables.  My friends brought guacamole, corn bread and dessert

Here is what you need (makes about 25 - 28 tamales):

  • 4 cups masa (I used Tamal masa – you can also use Masa harina)
  • ½ cup butter at room temperature (I used Smart Balance Extra Virgin Olive Oil Spread)
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp. red chili powder 
  • 4+ cups organic vegetable stock
  • one packet of corn husks
  • about 20 oz. flame roasted green chile
  • 10 oz. queso fresco

Corn husks before soaking

Here is how I made it:

  • Take hot water in a big pot and soak the corn husks in it for a couple of hours. You may have to weigh the husks down with something so that they don’t float out of the water.
  • In a big bowl, take the butter and beat well with a rubber spatula till it is smooth
  • In another bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients.  Add the stock and mix well.
  • I used a little more than 4 cups of vegetable stock.  The batter should be thicker than pancake batter.
  • Add this to the butter and mix well.
  • Drain out the water from the corn husks.

  • Lay a corn husk out on a plate
  • Spread a couple of heaping teaspoons full of masa on to the husk as shown in the picture
  • Top this with about a teaspoon full of green chili and a little crumbled queso.
  • Fold the bottom of the husk up and then the sides.
  • Tie with a strip of cornhusk (tear one of the soaked cornhusks into strips)

  • Once you have all of them done, place them in a steamer  (I used my pressure cooker)
  • Steam tamales for about 20 – 25 minutes

Serve hot with Mexican rice and salsa

1 comment:

  1. Wow mouthwatering and very tasty looking recipe. I will definitely try this at home. Have you tried Pakistani Cooking Recipes I love all Pakistani Recipes and mostly the appetizers by zarnak sidhwa recipes


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