DDD #146 – Vegan Tamales & Neil Hamburger


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OK – this episode features the awesome Neil Hamburger, local comedian, song man, magician & lounge act.  Neil happens to be vegan & so I invited him to make tamales on my channel.  Tamales have always intimidated me & I have never attempted making them myself.  Don’t let the length of this episode frighten you.  It is not long because it was hard to make tamales but because Neil is a fascinating conversationalist.

Click the image below to watch us make tamales from scratch, discuss vermin-infested chili factories, Greek cheese & serial killer yard sale finds, Tiffany Amber Thiessen – and more!

Vegan Tamales

This will make about 8-12 tamales – depending on how large you make them.  Depending on how fat they are – you might have extra stuffing ingredients.


1 large package of corn husks (get more than you need because lots of them will be too small or torn) – soaked in warm water for an hour

4 cups masa flour

1 cup corn grits

6 cups vegan stock

1 package of soyrizo or other vegan chorizo – minced (optional)

Vegan grated cheese

1 cup (2 sticks) vegan butter

1 4oz can of diced green chilies

for mushrooms

1/2 lib sliced mushrooms

olive oil

4 garlic cloves – chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

pinch chili powder


for the black beans

1 15oz can black beans

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp garlic powder

pinch of chili powder

GARNISH OPTIONS – rice, beans, salsa, cheese, guacamole, lime wedges, sliced avocado, pico de gallo, cilantro


for the mushrooms

Heat a little olive oil in a saute pan.  Add the mushrooms, cumin & chili powder & saute until soft.  Mix in the garlic & saute another minute or so.  S&P to taste.  Set aside to cool.

for the beans

Drain the beans.  In a stock pan, heat them & stir in the bay leaf, garlic powder & chili powder.  Set aside to cool.

for the tamales

In a large bowl, mash 2/3 of the butter & then smoosh in a cup of masa flour.  Add 1 cup of stock & combine.  Add the remaining 3 cups of masa & 3 cups of stock – one cup of each at a time – alternating.  ! cup masa – one cup stock.  Combine.  Repeat.  When all four cups of masa & stock are blended with the butter, add the rest of the butter & the cup of grits and the can of green chilies.  Combine – only using as much stock as you need to keep it in a cookie dough consistency.  It should not be soupy.

To assemble the tamales – find a large & untorn husk and put it on the counter – small side on the bottom – wide at the top. (The video will show this far better than I can explain in words.)  Then, put a small handful of masa in it. Pat it flat & add a small amount of whatever fillings you like in any combination you prefer.  Again – watch the video to see Neil expertly assemble a few of these.  Then – fold the bottom up – folding the masa from the bottom over some filling.  Fold the sides in pressing the masa over the filling from the sides.  Basically, create a veggie-stuffed masa Twinkie, then fold the bottom of the husk up, fold one side in & then the other.  If they are overstuffed & squirting out the top, simply double wrap them but put the open end on the bottom so the bottom fold encloses the opening.  Video shows this clearly.  Then 0 you can move on & make the rest or use a strip of husk (or kitchen twine) to tie them shut.  Repeat until all the masa is gone.

Neil steamed his tamales in his electric steamer for 65 minutes.  I steamed mine in an Instant Pot for 45 minutes.  I steamed mine upright.  I used a little terra cotta pot to keep mine upright. Neil steamed his flat.

Now – you can let them cool & freeze them for the future or eat them immediately – garnished as you like.  See?  Not hard at all!