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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!
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
1/2 lib sliced mushrooms
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!