Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Vegetarian Masa Recipe for Tamales

Here is an alternate recipe for vegetarian masa for tamales. This recipe will make a bigger, more party-sized batch of tamales, depending on how big or small you make them.

You can vary this recipe by adding some extra ingredients to the masa itself. For example, you could add some corn kernels to the mixture and/or some chopped roasted onion or chiles (poblano would be great or your favorite - I would recommend removing the seeds first).

Another variation would be adding a filling to the middle of the tamales, as shown in my Bean and Cheese Tamales. Instead of topping the cooked tamales with salsa, you could put the salsa in the middle of the tamale with beans or cheese. Really, it's up to your imagination.

Vegetarian Masa for Tamales
makes approximately 24

4 cups masa harina (corn flour formulated for making tortillas or tamales)
1 tablespoon tamari or shoyu or soy sauce
2 cups vegetable broth, divided
warm water to incorporate if needed
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil or 2/3 cup shortening

Directions for mixing if using olive oil:

Mix the oil and soy sauce and 1 cup of the broth. Pour into the masa and mix with your hand to incorporate. Then add the extra cup of broth bit by bit until the masa dough is soft and moist. If the dough is too dry and crumbly, add more warm water until the dough is very well hydrated and holds together.

Directions for mixing if using shortening:

Whip the shortening in a stand mixer until fluffy. In a separate bowl, add the soy sauce to one cup of the broth. Bit by bit alternate adding the masa harina and the soy sauce-broth mixture to the shortening, beating to incorporate. With the mixer still running, slowly pour in the last cup of broth until the dough is unified and well hydrated. Add more warm water if necessary to hydrate thoroughly.

Keep the dough hydrated while forming the tamales by covering with a damp towel.
See Bean and Cheese Tamales for assembly and cooking instructions.

Note that the tamales may need to steam for an hour and a half to completely cook.

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