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These red chile jackfruit tamales are made with spicy guajillo chile seasoned jackfruit and masa, stuffed inside corn husks and steamed to perfection. What makes these so good is that the masa is spiced with guajillo chiles, coconut oil, and cumin. They are so delicious and 100% vegan and gluten-free.

Jackfruit simmering in red chile sauce in a cast iron pan

These are the first tamales I ever learned how to make. Back when I didn’t know how to make tamales, my dad invited me to the family restaurant to learn. Over the years we had helped on several occasions with the spreading of the masa on the husk and the folding, but I had never done the whole process from start to finish. Tamales rojos are very typical of the northern Mexico, they are usually filled with pork and are very small in size, but with a pretty equal ratio of masa to filling.

Masa for tamales in a silver bowl

The thing about learning how to cook in a restaurant is that you learn how to make huge quantities of food. That day we must’ve made more than 200 tamales! Believe me, it was a few years before I decided to make tamales again all by myself. When I became vegan, I was very sad at the thought of not having good tamales again, and frankly the thought of tamales filled with veggies didn’t appeal to me at the moment.

Tamales wrapped in corn husk on a blue back ground

However, after some experimentation with jackfruit, I decided to veganize this recipe from the family restaurant. The result was shockingly similar to the original ones. So much so, that my omnivore husband was tricked into thinking that the tamales weren’t vegan!!

Tamales arranged in a steamer pot

This recipe is part of my ebook Vegan Tamales Unwrapped. After making these red chile jackfruit tamales I became so obsessed with making vegan tamales that I decided to make my obsession into an ebook. It has 50 detailed pictures on how to make vegan tamales from making the masa to spreading and wrapping.

vegan tamales ebook

Every possible aspect of tamal making is explored, the type of fats, wrappers, fillings, cooking methods. There’s even an option for oil free tamales. It includes both savory and sweet tamal recipes such as:

  • Red Chile Jackfruit Tamales
  • Mole Tamales
  • Salsa Verde Jackfruit Tamales
  • Chocolate Tamales
  • Strawberry Tamales
  • Lime Tamales

It is available for purchase on Amazon for $6.99. Sadly it is only available in ebook format, but if you don’t have a kindle you can also purchase it on itunes to read on your mac devices. I am so proud of this book and I know you will enjoy it too!

Red chile jackfruit tamales in a white and green tea towel

The Recipe: Red Chile Jackfruit Tamales

  • Masa harina is dried nixtamalized corn flour. It is used in Mexico to make tortillas, tamales, sopes, etc. The brand most commonly found is Maseca, but the only non-gmo organic one I’ve found is Bob’s Red Mill
  • I found coconut oil to be the most flavorful fat to use in this recipe. I recommend you use refined coconut oil so the coconut flavor doesn’t affect the tamales. If you use unrefined coconut oil you will get a coconutty flavor.
  • If you have a hard time finding jackfruit, (I find mine at Trader Joe’s) you can use mushrooms instead.
  • If you would like to make these with fresh masa, replace the masa harina with 2 lbs. of fresh masa and use only 3/4 cup of vegetable stock. To substitute the coconut oil, you can use 8 oz. of vegetable oil or vegetable shortening. For tamales without fat, use 8 oz of cooked, unsweetened pumpkin.
Red chile jackfruit tamales in a white and green tea towel
5 from 2 votes
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Red Chile Jackfruit Tamales

These red chile jackfruit tamales are made with spicy guajillo chile seasoned jackfruit and masa, stuffed inside corn husks and steamed until tender.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword vegan mexican recipes, vegan tamales
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 18 - 24 Tamales
91 kcal
Author Dora S.

Ingredients

Guajillo Chile Sauce

  • 20 (4 oz._ Guajillo chiles, dry, seeded
  • 3-4 Arbol chiles, dried, seeded
  • 6 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 White onion, chopped
  • 2 cups Chile soaking liquid

Filling

  • 4 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans (20 oz.) Green jackfruit in brine
  • 1 ½ cups Reserved guajillo chile sauce

Dough

  • 1 cup (8 oz.) Refined coconut oil, room temperature
  • 4 cups (1 lb. 2 oz.) Masa harina
  • 1 ½ tsp. Baking powder
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Salt, kosher
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Cumin, ground
  • 3 ½ cups Vegetable broth or stock
  • 1 ½ cups Reserved guajillo chile sauce
  • 30 Corn husks

Preparation

To prepare the corn husks

  1. Soak the corn husks in hot water, in a large pot or in your kitchen sink. Place a plate over them to weigh them down so they are completely submerged. Let them soak for at least an hour.

To make the sauce

  1. Place the chiles in a small sauce pot and cover with water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and let cook for about 10 minutes. Drain the chiles and reserve 2 cups of the soaking liquid. Place the chiles, garlic, onion, and soaking liquid in the blender and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and strain. You should end up with about 3 cups of sauce.

To make the filling

  1. Drain the jackfruit. Rinse, and pat with paper towels. Cut out the core of the jackfruit (tip of the triangle pieces), and cut pieces in half. Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in a large sauté pan set to medium heat. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring often. Add the jackfruit and cook for 3 -4 minutes or until it begins to brown. Pour 1 ½ cups of the guajillo chile sauce and reduce heat to low-medium. Simmer for 20 minutes or until jackfruit begins to break down and the sauce has thickened slightly. Use a fork to shred the jackfruit as it cooks down. Season with salt and pepper and let cool.

To make the dough

  1. Beat the coconut oil, on medium-high speed, with an electric mixer for 1 minute. Add the baking powder, cumin, salt, and beat for 1 minute to incorporate into the coconut oil.

  2. Add half of the masa harina to the bowl, pour in half of the vegetable stock, and beat to incorporate. After it is completely incorporated, add the other half of masa harina, vegetable stock, and 1 ½ cups of the guajillo chile puree. Beat at low speed, until thoroughly mixed. It should have the consistency of a thick cake batter. If necessary, add more vegetable stock until you reach that consistency. Taste the dough, and add more salt if necessary. It should be a little bit salty.
  3. For lighter and fluffier tamales, let the dough rest for an hour in the refrigerator. Remove the dough from the fridge and rebeat it, adding enough liquid to get it to the consistency it had before.
  4. Remove the corn husks from the water and set on paper towels. Reserve the largest husks to wrap the tamales and the small ones to line the steamer.

To set up your steamer

  1. Fill the bottom with water making sure the water is not touching the steamer rack. Line the rack and sides of the steamer pot with corn husks. Set aside.

To wrap the tamales

  1. Pull 24 pencil thin strips off of the corn husks and set aside. Take a husk and dry off the excess water with a paper towel. Place the husk in your hand with the tapered side away from you and the smooth side up. Using a spoon, spread 2-3 tbsp. of the dough (¼ inch thick) onto the corn husk, forming a 3 - 4 inch square. Leave a border of at least 3/4 inch on each side of the square.

  2. Place 1 ½ tbsp. of the filling in the center of the dough. Bring the two long sides of the corn husk together, this will cause the masa to surround the filling, and roll them in the same direction around the tamal. (If the husk is too small, fold one of the long sides towards the center, and then fold the other long side on top.) Fold down the empty tapered section of the corn husk, forming a closed bottom. This will leave the top of the tamal open. Tie with a corn husk strip to secure the bottom of the tamal.

  3.  Place the tamal in the steamer vertically leaning against the side of the pot, with the open end on top. Repeat this process until you run out of dough and all the tamales are in the steamer. Cover them with a layer of corn husks. If the steamer is not full, fill the empty spaces with more corn husks. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Turn heat down to medium and cook for 40 minutes. Check the tamales, when they separate easily from the corn husk it means they are done. If they are not done, steam for 10 more minutes and check again.

  4. Remove steamer from the heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes. Uncover and let cool for at least an hour. Don’t be alarmed if the tamales seem really soft. As they cool, they will firm up.

Chef's Notes

If you would like to make these with fresh masa, replace the masa harina with 2 lbs. of fresh masa and use only 3/4 cup of vegetable stock. To substitute the coconut oil, you can use 8 oz. of vegetable oil or vegetable shortening. For tamales without fat, use 8 oz of cooked, unsweetened pumpkin.

Nutrition Facts
Red Chile Jackfruit Tamales
Amount Per Serving
Calories 91 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Sodium 498mg 21%
Potassium 94mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Protein 2g 4%
Vitamin A 6.4%
Vitamin C 1.1%
Calcium 5.8%
Iron 11.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


These vegan hojarascas, also known as polvorones, are scented with ground anise and orange zest, and dusted with cinnamon sugar. In the US these are known as Mexican wedding cookies, and are dusted with powdered sugar. In northern Mexico, where I’m from, they are very popular during the Christmas season. You can see them displayed in panadería windows, and are often given as gifts.

These vegan hojarascas, also known as polvorones, are scented with ground anise and orange zest, and dusted with cinnamon sugar. I This is the mother of all cookie recipes (cue angelic choir). It might just be one recipe, but you can make many different kinds of cookies, I made 3, apricot thumbprint cookies, hojarascas dusted with cinnamon sugar, and pecan hojarascas dusted with powdered sugar. On the other hand, if anise and orange isn’t your thing, you can add ground nuts, dried fruits, or even coat them in chocolate. Our favorite cookie out of the three was a small round one dusted in cinnamon-sugar.

These vegan hojarascas, also known as polvorones, are scented with ground anise and orange zest, and dusted with cinnamon sugar. I

Now that we live in San Antonio visiting family is so much easier, and I am very happy to be spending Christmas in my childhood home. My mom goes all out on the Christmas decorations, and the kids are so excited about Santa coming and are counting down the days. We are making tamales tomorrow for Christmas eve, and are planning all sorts of games and activities for the children. I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

These vegan hojarascas, also known as polvorones, are scented with ground anise and orange zest, and dusted with cinnamon sugar. I

These vegan hojarascas, also known as polvorones, are scented with ground anise and orange zest, and dusted with cinnamon sugar. I

The Recipe: Orange and Anise Vegan Hojarascas

  • I used Earth Balance as a butter substitute, which is salted, so if you use salted butter omit the salt in the recipe.( I did try to make these with coconut oil, but I wasn’t a fan of the result.)
  • The recipe is so simple. You cream butter and sugar, then add the orange zest, anise, and vanilla extract.
  • You can add 1/4 cup of finely chopped pecans if you like nuts, then dust with cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar depending on your preferences. ¡Enjoy!

These vegan hojarascas, also known as polvorones, are scented with ground anise and orange zest, and dusted with cinnamon sugar. I

 

These vegan hojarascas, also known as polvorones, are scented with ground anise and orange zest, and dusted with cinnamon sugar. I
5 from 1 vote
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Orange and Anise Vegan Hojarascas

These vegan hojarascas, also known as polvorones, are scented with ground anise and orange zest, and dusted with cinnamon sugar.
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 dozen
118 kcal
Author Dora S.

Ingredients

  • 5 oz. (2/3 cup) Sugar, granulated
  • 12 oz. (1 ½ cups) Vegan butter, room temperature
  • 16 oz. (3 cups) Flour, all-purpose
  • 1 tsp. Ground anise seed
  • 1 tbsp. Orange zest
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla extract

Cinnamon-sugar:

  • 1 ¼ cups Cane sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Freshly ground cinnamon

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Cream butter and sugar, in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment.
  3. Add vanilla, orange zest, and ground anise. Mix.
  4. Slowly add flour, with mixer at low speed. Mix until well combined.
  5. Line 2 sheet-pans with parchment paper. Roll out dough on a floured surface to ¼ inch thick and cut into desired shapes (you can also roll dough into 1 inch balls and bake them that way).
  6. Place cut dough on sheet-tray, 1 inch apart from each other.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until bottoms become golden brown.
  8. Remove from oven. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, dust with cinnamon sugar.
  9. Place on a wire rack to cool.

Chef's Notes

You can add ¼ cup of finely chopped pecans to the dough if you like and eat nuts. You can also use this cookie dough recipe to make thumbprint cookies. Dust with powdered sugar instead of cinnamon sugar for a more Mexican wedding cookies look. 

Nutrition Facts
Orange and Anise Vegan Hojarascas
Amount Per Serving (1 cookie)
Calories 118 Calories from Fat 51
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5.7g 9%
Saturated Fat 1.1g 6%
Sodium 67.16mg 3%
Potassium 15.8mg 0%
Total Carbohydrates 15g 5%
Sugars 8g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin A 5%
Vitamin C 0.5%
Calcium 0.5%
Iron 2.75%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition Facts
Orange and Anise Vegan Hojarascas
Amount Per Serving (1 cookie)
Calories 118 Calories from Fat 51
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5.7g 9%
Saturated Fat 1.1g 6%
Sodium 67.16mg 3%
Potassium 15.8mg 0%
Total Carbohydrates 15g 5%
Sugars 8g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin A 5%
Vitamin C 0.5%
Calcium 0.5%
Iron 2.75%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

 

 

Every country across the world has its own way of celebrating Christmas. Mexico has many wonderful Christmas traditions, but one of the most important is the food. It’s not Christmas without pozole, tamales, buñuelos, or ponche. Another one of those important dishes is this vegan Bacalao a la Vizcaína.

This post contains affiliate links.

Bacalao a la Vizcaína is a braised salt cod dish with tomatoes, garlic, olives, capers, roasted peppers, and potatoes. Depending what part of the country you are in they also add raisins and slivered almonds. For this vegan version I️ have used hearts of palm and artichoke hearts to replace the salt cod. The dish is an adaptation of a Spanish classic, and is mostly consumed in central and southern Mexico on Christmas Eve. Serve it with rice or crusty bread to soak up to the last drop of the stew.

What are some of your favorite Christmas foods? My favorite is without a doubt tamales, and the are super easy to veganize! My favorite Christmas traditions are decorating the tree as a family, pedir posada, and singing Happy birthday to Jesus, and then having the kids kiss little baby Jesus on Christmas Eve. Ok, so there’s a lot of stuff I️ like about Christmas! I️ would love to hear some of your traditions.

The Recipe: Vegan Bacalao a la Vizcaína

I have used one can of hearts of palm and one can of artichoke hearts, but feel free to use one or the other. To give this a fishy flavor you can use dulse flakes or finely chopped nori seaweed. Enjoy!

This vegan bacalao a la vizcaína is an adaptation of a Spanish classic, and is served in central and southern Mexico on Christmas Eve.
5 from 1 vote
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Vegan Bacalao a la Vizcaína

This vegan bacalao a la vizcaína is an adaptation of a Spanish classic, and is served in central and southern Mexico on Christmas Eve.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 3 minutes
Servings 6 Servings
Author Dora S.

Ingredients

  • 10 Plum tomatoes, medium, (3 cups roasted tomato puree)
  • 1 White onion, diced, (about 2 cups)
  • 6 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14 oz.) Artichoke hearts, drained, roughly chopped
  • 1 can (14 oz.) Hearts of palm, drained, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup Sliced, pitted manzanilla olives
  • 1 tbsp. Capers
  • 3 Red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, cut into strips
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-2 tsp. Finely chopped nori flakes
  • 1 lb. New potatoes, cooked, peeled, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup Parsley, chopped
  • 3 Pickled pepperoni or banana peppers whole or sliced

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven broiler to HI. Place tomatoes on a sheet try and place under the broiler for 4 minutes, until the tomatoes begin to brown and be covered in black spots.
  2. Turn the tomatoes and leave in oven for 4 more minutes. Remove from oven. Using your blender, process until you have a smooth puree. Strain and set aside.
  3. Heat a large pot to medium-low heat and add ¼ cup of water. Add onions and let cook until tender and transparent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, and cook for 1 more minute.
  4. Pour in tomato puree, and bring it up to a simmer.
  5. Add hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, olives, capers, red peppers, bay leaf, and nori flakes. Continue to simmer for 5-6 minutes. Stir well.
  6. Add parsley, potatoes, pickled banana peppers. Let simmer for 8 more minutes. If the sauce thickens too much, adjust with vegetable stock or water.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Chef's Notes

If you are looking for a fishy taste use 2 tsp. of nori flakes. Serve with rice or crusty bread. The pickled pepper can be spicy or mild depending on your preference. In some states they add raisins and slivered almonds, you can add those as well. 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through, and make a purchase. Thank you for your support!

 

This past weekend I went to my first blogger conference. I learned so much and I met the most amazing people. The conference was hosted by Nagi from Recipe Tin Eats and I loved her insight on how she grew her blog from 0 to 1 million views in 18 months. There’s so much to do on this little blog, and I am incredibly motivated to get it done.

There was only one other vegan blogger at the conference, her name is Jenn and her blog is Veggie Inspired. Please go check out her site and don’t forget to follow her on Pinterest, she has some great recipes on there. There’s one other blogger I would love to mention and that is Mimi from Mimi Avocado, even though her blog is not vegan you should go over to her site and read a little bit of her story. She lives on an avocado ranch. If you live in California you could have Mimi’s avocados delivered right to your door through her son’s company: California Avocados Direct!

Me and Nagi from Recipe Tin Eats

Our ebook: Vegan Tamales Unwrapped is coming along nicely and I can’t wait for you to try all of the different tamal recipes. This recipe for vegan strawberry tamales is one of the best ones in the book. Apparently they taste like Capt’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries, according to my husband.

The Recipe: Vegan Strawberry Tamales

These strawberry tamales are soft, tender packets of ground corn, filled with sweet strawberry jam. The aroma of the tamales steaming is irresistible. They are great with a mug of Mexican hot chocolate or an atole. Enjoy!

5 from 1 vote
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Vegan Strawberry Tamales

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 18 tamales
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Strawberries, cut into chunks
  • 2 cups Almond milk, warm
  • 1 cup Vegan Butter, room temperature, 8 oz.
  • 1/2 cup Sugar, granulated
  • 1.5 tsp. Baking powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 4 cups Masa harina, 1 lb. 2oz
  • 1 cup Water, warm
  • 1 ½ cup Strawberry jam
  • 30 Corn husks

Preparation

  1. Soak the corn husks in hot water, in a large pot or in your kitchen sink. Place a plate over them to weigh them down so they are completely submerged. Let them soak for at least an hour.
  2. Blend the 2 cups of almond milk and 1 cup of the strawberries until smooth.
  3. To make the dough: beat the butter and sugar, on medium-high speed, with an electric mixer, until the butter has doubled in size and is nice and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the baking powder and salt, and beat for 1 minute to incorporate into the butter.
  4. Add half of the masa harina then add the strawberry almond milk. After it is completely incorporated, add the other half of the masa harina and the water. Add the remaining cup of chopped strawberries, and beat at low speed, until thoroughly mixed. It should have the consistency of a thick cake batter. If necessary add more water until you reach that consistency.
  5. For lighter and fluffier tamales, let the dough rest for an hour in the refrigerator. Remove the dough from the fridge and rebeat it, adding enough liquid to get it to the consistency it had before.
  6. Remove the corn husks from the water and set on paper towels. Reserve the largest husks to wrap the tamales and the small ones to line the steamer.
  7. To set up your steamer, fill the bottom with water making sure the water is not touching the steamer rack. Line the rack and sides of the steamer pot with corn husks. Set aside.
  8. Pull 24 pencil thin strips off of the corn husks and set aside. Take a husk and dry off the excess water on it with a paper towel. Place the husk in your hand with the tapered side away from you and the smooth side up. Using a spoon, spread 2-3 tbsp. of the dough (¼ inch thick) onto the corn husk, forming a 3 - 4 inch square. Leave a border of at least 3/4 inch on each side of the square.
  9. Place 1 tbsp. of strawberry jam in the center of the dough. Bring the two long sides of the corn husk together, this will cause the masa to surround the jam, and roll them in the same direction around the tamal. (If the husk is too small, fold one of the long sides towards the center, and then fold the other long side on top.) Fold down the empty tapered section of the corn husk, forming a closed bottom. This will leave the top of the tamal open. Tie with a corn husk strip to secure the bottom of the tamal.
  10. Place the tamal in the steamer vertically leaning against the side of the steamer, with the open end on top. Repeat this process until you run out of dough and all the tamales are in the steamer. Cover them with a layer of corn husks. If the steamer is not full, fill the empty spaces with more corn husks. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Turn heat down to medium and cook for 40 minutes. Check the tamales, when they separate easily from the corn husk it means they are done. If they are not done, steam for 10 more minutes and check again.
  11. Remove steamer from the heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes. Uncover and let cool for at least an hour. Don’t be alarmed if the tamales seem really soft. As they cool, they will firm up.

Chef's Notes

If you would like to make these with fresh masa, replace the masa harina with 2 lbs. of fresh masa and use only 1 cup of almond milk. To substitute the fat you can use 8 oz. of coconut oil. For tamales without fat, substitute with 8 oz of cooked, unsweetened pumpkin.

 

 

These vegan potato adobo tamales that I am sharing with you today are filled with a mixture of potatoes and peas tossed in a spicy adobo sauce. The adobo is smoky, spicy, tangy, and has an earthy quality to it. The masa that surrounds it, is fluffy and light, and it’s all wrapped in a corn husk and steamed until tender

Vegan tamales are delicious, and you can practically make them with any vegetable or green. If you need a little help in the tamales department, be sure to check out my ebook Vegan Tamales Unwrapped: The step-by-step guide to savory and sweet tamales. It has over 16 different vegan tamal recipes, and with picture and instructions on how to do every step so you can make tamales easily.

This vegan latino gift guide is inspired by our love of Latino culture, they are made or curated by Latino business owners and entrepreneurs.

I love Christmas. Yeah, I’m one of those people, and I don’t care about being politically correct. It’s so close! Can you feel it?  What’s not to like about Christmas? There’s family, good food, Christmas carols, cookies, and Jesus of course. Ok, ok, enough already. Just don’t stress out about family gatherings this time of year. Bring a vegan dish to share and enjoy yourself, I know I will.

The Recipe: Vegan Potato Adobo Tamales

You can use vegetable shortening or olive oil in this recipe instead of coconut oil. If you prefer to make tamales without fat you can substitute the coconut oil with unsweetened pumpkin puré. Letting the masa rest is key to light and fluffy tamales. Enjoy!

Vegan potato adobo tamales. They are filled with a mixture of potatoes and peas tossed in a spicy adobo sauce. The adobo is smoky, spicy, tangy, and has an earthy quality to it. The masa that surrounds it, is fluffy and light

 

Vegan Potato Adobo Tamales
5 from 4 votes
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Vegan Potato Adobo Tamales

Vegan Potato Adobo Tamales, tender tamales stuffed with potatoes and peas in a spicy adobo sauce.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword adobo, potatoes, vegan tamales
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 18 tamales
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 cup (8 oz.) Coconut oil
  • 4 cups (1 lb. 2 oz). Masa harina
  • 1 ½ tsp. Baking powder
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Salt
  • 4 cups Vegetable stock or broth, warm

Filling

  • 1 ½ lb. Potatoes, peeled, cut into small dice
  • 1 cup Peas, fresh or frozen
  • 3 Ancho chiles, dry, deseeded
  • 1 ½ Pasilla chiles, dry, deseeded
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • ¼ Onion, white
  • ½ tsp. Cumin, ground
  • ½ tsp. Oregano, dried
  • 1 Clove, whole
  • ¼ tsp. Cinnamon, ground
  • ½ cup Vinegar, white
  • ½ cup Chile soaking liquid
  • 30 Corn Husks

Preparation

  1. Soak the corn husks in hot water, in a large pot or in your kitchen sink. Place a plate over them to weigh them down so they are completely submerged. Let them soak for at least an hour.
  2. To make the filling, place the diced potatoes in a medium pot with salted cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 6 min. or until the potatoes are slightly tender. When the potatoes are cooked, remove from the heat and pour the cup of peas into the water with the potatoes and let sit for 30 sec. Drain and set aside.
  3. To make the adobo, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles and drop them into the water. Turn heat down to the lowest setting and let the chiles sit in the water for 10 min. Remove the chiles from the water and place in blender. Reserve ½ cup of the chile soaking liquid. Add the garlic, onion, oregano, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, white vinegar, and ½ cup of soaking liquid to the blender and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Pour the adobo on the cooked potatoes and peas, adjust seasoning, and mix well.
  5. To make the dough, beat the coconut oil, on medium-high speed, with an electric mixer, about 3 minutes. Add the baking powder, salt, and beat for 1 minute to incorporate into the oil.

  6. Add half of the masa harina then add half of the vegetable stock. After it is completely incorporated, add the other half of masa harina and vegetable stock. Beat at low speed, until thoroughly mixed. It should have the consistency of a thick cake batter. If necessary add more vegetable stock until you reach that consistency. Taste the dough, and add more salt if necessary. It should be a little bit salty.
  7. For lighter and fluffier tamales, let the dough rest for an hour in the refrigerator. Remove the dough from the fridge and rebeat it, adding enough liquid to get it to the consistency it had before.
  8. Remove the corn husks from the water and set on paper towels. Reserve the largest husks to wrap the tamales and the small ones to line the steamer.
  9. To set up your steamer, fill the bottom with water making sure the water is not touching the steamer rack. Line the rack and sides of the steamer pot with corn husks. Set aside.
  10. Pull 24 pencil thin strips off of the corn husks and set aside. Take a husk and dry off the excess water with a paper towel. Place the husk in your hand with the tapered side away from you and the smooth side up. Using a spoon, spread 2-3 tbsp. of the dough (¼ inch thick) onto the corn husk, forming a 3 – 4 inch square. Leave a border of at least 3/4 inch on each side of the square.
  11. Place 1 ½ tbsp. of the filling in the center of the dough. Bring the two long sides of the corn husk together, this will cause the masa to surround the filling, and roll them in the same direction around the tamal. (If the husk is too small, fold one of the long sides towards the center, and then fold the other long side on top.) Fold down the empty tapered section of the corn husk, forming a closed bottom. This will leave the top of the tamal open. Tie with a corn husk strip to secure the bottom of the tamal.
  12. Place the tamal in the steamer vertically leaning against the side of the pot, with the folded part of the tamal on the bottom. Repeat this process until you run out of dough and all the tamales are in the steamer. Cover them with a layer of corn husks. If the steamer is not full, fill the empty spaces with more corn husks. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Turn heat down to medium and cook for 40 minutes. Check the tamales, when they separate easily from the corn husk it means they are done. If they are not done, steam for 10 more minutes and check again.
  13. Remove steamer from the heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes. Uncover and let cool for at least an hour. Don’t be alarmed if the tamales seem really soft. As they cool, they will firm up.

Recipe Video

Chef's Notes

If you would like to make these with fresh masa, replace the masa harina with 2 lbs. of fresh masa. To substitute the vegetable shortening, you can use 8 oz. of coconut oil. For tamales without fat, use 8 oz of cooked, unsweetened pumpkin.

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It’s that time of year again when the cold starts creeping in and we yearn for a nice mug of hot chocolate and a tamal. If you have never tried a sweet tamal you are in for a treat.  These vegan chocolate tamales are made by beating vegan butter and sugar, adding corn masa flour, ground Mexican chocolate, cinnamon, and warm almond milk. It is filled with bittersweet chocolate chips and chopped pecans. The best tamal is a warm tamal just out of the steamer, and the scent of cinnamon and the melted bittersweet chocolate interior of this tamal will surely conquer your taste buds.

Masa for tamales in a silver bowl

 

 

We love tamales in this house both savory and sweet. Our favorites are the red chile jackfruit tamales, potato adobo tamales, and strawberry tamales. We love them so much that two years ago I self-published an ebook to help you make all kinds of vegan tamales. The book is called Vegan Tamales Unwrapped and contains over 18 different vegan tamal recipes for you to enjoy this Christmas season, with a step-by-step picture guide to making the dough, wrapping the tamales, and placing them in the steamer. The recipes include both savory and sweet tamales.

This vegan latino gift guide is inspired by our love of Latino culture, they are made or curated by Latino business owners and entrepreneurs.

Recently, while doing some research on tamales I read that there is very little evidence that tortillas were part of the Mayan diet, at least not until 900 AD. However, tamales can be found in the Aztec and Maya civilizations as far back as 7000 BC according to their hieroglyphs. It is thought that they were often carried by warriors, hunters, and travelers since they are the perfect portable food individually wrapped in corn husks. Who would have thought???

tamales chocolate

The Recipe: Vegan Chocolate Tamales

  • If you would like to make these tamales with fresh masa, replace the masa harina with 2 lbs. of fresh masa.
  • I used Ibarra chocolate for this recipe, but there are many other vegan options. 
  • You can also make these with coconut oil or vegetable shortening.
  • If you would like to make these without fat, use unsweetened pumpkin puree to replace the fat.
tamales chocolate
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Vegan Chocolate Tamales

Vegan Chocolate tamales filled with roasted pecans and chocolate chips.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword chocolate, pecans, vegan tamales
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 18 tamales
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (8 oz.) Vegan Butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup Sugar, granulated
  • 4 cups (1 lb. 2oz) Masa harina
  • 1.5 tsp. Baking powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (9 oz.) Mexican chocolate, ground
  • ½ tsp. Cinnamon, ground
  • 2 cups Almond Milk, unsweetened, warm
  • 2 cups Water, warm
  • ½ cup Pecans, chopped
  • 2 cups Chocolate chips, bittersweet
  • 30 Corn husks dried

Preparation

To prepare the husks:

  1. Soak the corn husks in hot water, in a large pot or in your kitchen sink. Place a plate over them to weigh them down so they are completely submerged. Let them soak for at least an hour.

To make the dough:

  1. Chop the Mexican chocolate into small pieces and grind to a powder in the food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the chocolate with a standard kitchen grater.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar, on medium-high speed, with an electric mixer, until the butter has doubled in size and is nice and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the Mexican chocolate, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and beat for 1 minute to incorporate into the butter.
  3. Add half of the masa harina then add the almond milk. After it is completely incorporated, add the other half of masa harina and water. Beat at low speed, until thoroughly mixed. It should have the consistency of a thick cake batter. If necessary add more water until you reach that consistency.
  4. For lighter and fluffier tamales, let the dough rest for an hour in the refrigerator. Remove the dough from the fridge and rebeat it, adding enough liquid to get it to the consistency it had before.
  5. Remove the corn husks from the water and set on paper towels.

To set up the steamer:

  1. Fill the bottom with water making sure the water is not touching the steamer rack. Line the rack and sides of the steamer pot with corn husks. Set aside.

To wrap the tamales:

  1. Pull 24 pencil thin strips off of the corn husks and set aside. Take a husk and dry off the excess water on it with a paper towel. Place the husk in your hand with the tapered side away from you and the smooth side up. Using a spoon, spread 2-3 tbsp. of the dough (¼ inch thick) onto the corn husk, forming a 3 - 4 inch square. Leave a border of at least 3/4 inch on each side of the square.
  2. Place 5-10 chocolate chips, and a sprinkle of chopped pecans in the center of the dough. Bring the two long sides of the corn husk together, this will cause the masa to surround the filling, and roll them in the same direction around the tamal. (If the husk is too small, fold one of the long sides towards the center, and then fold the other long side on top.) Fold down the empty tapered section of the corn husk, forming a closed bottom. This will leave the top of the tamal open. Tie with a corn husk strip to secure the bottom of the tamal.
  3. Place the tamal in the steamer vertically leaning against the side of the steamer, with the folded part of the tamal on the bottom. Repeat this process until you run out of dough and all the tamales are in the steamer. Cover them with a layer of corn husks. If the steamer is not full, fill the empty spaces with more corn husks. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Turn heat down to medium and cook for 40 minutes. Check the tamales, when they separate easily from the corn husk it means they are done. If they are not done, steam for 10 more minutes and check again.
  4. Remove steamer from the heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes. Uncover and let cool. Don’t be alarmed if the tamales seem really soft. As they cool, they will firm up.

Recipe Video

Chef's Notes

If you would like to make these with fresh masa, replace the masa harina with 2 lbs. of fresh masa. You can also use 8 oz. of coconut oil or 8 oz of cooked, unsweetened pumpkin to replace the fat.

 

One of the greatest things about Christmas is tradition, making new ones and reliving old ones. Traditions are a simple way of transmitting our values and our culture, making us part of history, thus becoming the glue between the past and the present. Mexican culture has many Christmas traditions, they vary from family to family and region to region, but some of them transcend all differences and have been part of the culture for centuries.

Mexican Christmas Traditions

Las Posadas:

Are part of a Roman Catholic tradition called a Novena, which in this case consists of 9 days of prayer prior to Christmas in order to obtain special graces. The passing of time and the jovial nature of the Mexican culture has transformed this tradition into 9 days of partying. Most posadas include pedir posada (reenacting the journey of Mary and Joseph trying to find a place in the Inn through song), a pastorela, the breaking of the piñata, and of course a small feast.

Mexican Christmas traditions are rich, varied, and full of symbolisms. They are passed on from generation to generation.

 

 

Las Pastorelas

Are plays or artistic representations of the story of baby Jesus. They take place in the days before Christmas, at schools, churches, or outdoor settings. They were first introduced by the Spanish missionaries in the 1500’s as a means of teaching the faith and the bible to the Indians.

The basic plot of a pastorela consists of several shepherds that are on their way to adore baby Jesus, but are discouraged by Lucifer himself. All of Lucifer’s attempts to stop the shepherds from reaching their destination fail, and they are safely able to deliver their offerings to the Christ child. Over the years the plays have been adapted to modern culture, and are funny, full of song, dance, and creative costumes. (The town of Tepotzotlan, Edo. de Mexico is famous for its pastorelas.)

Mexican Christmas traditions are rich, varied, and full of symbolisms. They are passed on from generation to generation.

La Piñata:

Is usually in the shape of a star with seven peaks, representing the 7 deadly sins. The person with the stick represents the faith, and the candy represents the temptation of evil. Pretty deep stuff! Even though the religious significance continues to get watered down through the years, the kids really enjoy it and some grown ups do too.

 

Mexican Christmas traditions are rich, varied, and full of symbolisms. They are passed on from generation to generation.

 

Nacimientos (Nativities):

Nativities were also introduced by the Spanish missionaries, but their origin can be traced back to Italy around 1223, where St. Francis of Assisi recreated the nativity with people, animals, and a little house made of straw. The live nativity tradition caught on in Europe and later evolved into figurines in people’s homes. When the nativity was adapted by the indigenous people of Mexico, it transformed into a scene of vivid color, with dark skinned characters made with materials such as glass, silver, lead, wood, or wax.

Today, nativity scenes are rarely historically accurate. They are decorated with green shrubbery, cactus, and maguey; they can have figurines like the mail man, milk man, the baker, and even the devil; and the size of baby Jesus can sometimes border on the ridiculous. Baby Jesus can almost be as large as the Mary and Joseph figurines or very, very tiny.

 

Mexican Christmas traditions are rich, varied, and full of symbolisms. They are passed on from generation to generation.

Noche Buena (Christmas Eve):

Christmas dinner in Mexico is usually celebrated on Christmas Eve, instead of Christmas day. Some families attend midnight mass, and some don’t. It is on this night when a large figurine of baby Jesus is laid down to rest in the manger and everyone adores and celebrates his birth. The dinner differs from region to region, but in our case we have turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, tamales, pozole, menudo, ponche, and beer or wine. Dessert would be buñuelos or my Tia Laura’s famous frozen cheesecake.

Mexican Christmas traditions are rich, varied, and full of symbolisms. They are passed on from generation to generation.

Mexican Christmas traditions are rich, varied, and full of symbolisms. They are passed on from generation to generation.

 

Fireworks:

Fireworks came to Mexico in the 19th century and were used (and still are) for ceremony and religious purposes. For Christmas, churches will light them after midnight mass or families set them off in their back yards to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Dia de Reyes (The Feast of the Epiphany):

Santa is becoming more popular in Mexico, especially in the border towns, but most kids get their gifts in January 6th, on the feast of the Epiphany. Traditionally the children leave a note for the Magi in their shoes, the night before, and place them under the Christmas tree or outside. The Magi respond by bringing them gifts the following morning, just as they brought gifts to the Christ child.

The Feast of the Epiphany is also commemorated with a Rosca de Reyes, an orange and anise scented king cake topped with dried and candied fruit. The fruit is meant to represent the crown´s jewels, and inside the bread is hidden a small figurine of baby Jesus. The lucky person to find baby Jesus in their piece of bread is designated to bring tamales on Feb. 2nd to the Feast of the Candelaria, but that´s another story.

Mexican Christmas traditions are rich, varied, and full of symbolisms. They are passed on from generation to generation.

Rosca de reyes mexicana|Source=commons.wikipedia|Author=Itzcuauhtli |Date=2009 |

Traditional Christmas Foods:

Tamales – Consist of seasoned corn dough (masa) filled with savory or sweet fillings, and wrapped in a corn husk or banana leaf and steamed. Their origin dates back to prehispanic times. The Aztecs, Mayans, Olmecas, and Toltecas prepared them for feasts and as a portable food.

Today they are still used in celebrations, such as Christmas. They are the ultimate comfort food for us Mexicans, well at least for me.
There are many variations, but in Coahuila, the state where I’m from, tamales are small, filled with shredded meat, seasoned with a salsa made with dried chiles, and wrapped in a corn husk.

Champurrado: Warm chocolate beverage thickened with corn flour or masa. It can also be flavored with anise, cinnamon, and vanilla. The best part of this drink is that it is made with Mexican chocolate. Mexican chocolate is basically cacao beans ground with sugar and cinnamon, this gives the champurrado a unique flavor that differs from American hot chocolate.

Ponche: Warm fruit punch containing pear, thornapple, sugar cane, guava, prunes, tamarind, orange peel, clove, and cinnamon.

Menudo: Beef tripe soup, flavored with a dried chile and garlic mixture, and served with radishes, cabbage, tostadas, lime juice oregano, and cilantro.

Pozole: Also a pre-Hispanic dish, which consists of shredded beef, hominy, a dried chile and garlic mixture, and served with cabbage, limes, tostadas, radish, cilantro, oregano, and onion.

Ensalada de Noche Buena: Christmas Eve salad made with beets, orange segments, peanuts, pomegranate, orange juice, and sugar.

Bacalao a la Vizcaina: Salt cod served in a tomato, garlic, red pepper, and olive sauce.

Buñuelos: Orange scented fritters dusted with cinnamon sugar or drizzled with a piloncillo syrup.

All these traditions are part of Mexico’s rich culture. What are some some of your favorite Christmas traditions or foods?

 

Sources:

Christmas in Mexico, World Book Encyclopedia, 1976