Who doesn't love a fresh homemade tamale? People are usually daunted by the prospect of making tamales on their own, but when I saw the recipe for Vegetarian Tamales on Tasty Kitchen recently I knew I had to try. And really, it wasn't hard or overly time consuming.
I made up a tasty filling, soaked the corn husks for wrapping, and mixed up the masa dough, and then set to spreading, filling, wrapping; rinse and repeat. And I ended up throwing most of them, uncooked, in the freezer for future meals. The longest part of the process is the steaming, which takes an hour and a half (and longer if frozen), so plan ahead a bit: I'm usually home around 4:30, so I'd toss some in my steamer when I get home from work, and about two hours later toss together a salad, and have a tasty dinner by 7:00.
Roasted Vegetable Tamales
adapted from Tasty Kitchen
1 package corn husks
2 cups masa
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. chili powder
2 1/4 cups veggie broth
1 stick butter, softened
1 sweet potato, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 green onions, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
Toss the sweet potato, zucchini, and garlic with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the mixture in a 375F oven for about 45 minutes, or until done. Feel free to use whatever assortment of veggies tickles your pickle too, such as winter squash, regular potato, asparagus, etc.
Soak the corn husks in water for at least 30 minutes. I used a giant saute pan, filled with water, and weighted the corn husks down with another pot.
In a bowl combine the masa, baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. chili powder. Add 2 cups of the veggie broth to form a dough. In a separate bowl cream the butter until fluffy, then add the masa dough and mix well.
Combine the roasted vegetables with the green onions, cilantro, tomatoes, lime juice, the remaining 1 tsp. chili powder and 1/4 cup veggie broth, and cheese. Taste and season as needed.
Take one of the soaked corn husks and spread at least a couple tablespoons of the masa dough in the center. Put a spoonful of the veggie filling down the middle, but not to the very end of the masa dough. Then wrap it all up like a burrito and tie of the ends with strips of another corn husk. Keep going until you've used up your masa dough and filling. You may need to use two husks when they are smaller, to wrap everything securely. I've read that you can also use foil in place of the corn husks, but I haven't tried it.
Either put them in a freezer bag at this point and pop them in the freezer, or get ready to cook your tamales. I used a big stock pot with a steamer basket in the bottom, or you can suspend a metal colander over boiling water, or use a real steamer if you have one. Get your water boiling and add your tamales, making sure they aren't touching the water. Steam for 90 minutes, checking the water to make sure you don't run dry and burn your pot, then check one: if the masa's firm, you're ready for dinner!
Kind of a crummy picture, but they tasted great. I served mine with an slaw of red cabbage, carrot, and cilantro (dressed with mayo, lime juice, a splash of apple cider vinegar, chili powder, salt and pepper), and vegetarian refried beans. I haven't tried the from-frozen tamales yet, but I'm sure they'll taste just as good, just take a little longer to cook.