Vegan Potato Adobo Tamales
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Vegan Potato Adobo Tamales

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.

One month from today our first e-book: Vegan Tamales Unwrapped will be available right here on Dora’s Table. It will only be $6.99!! It contains 18 different vegan tamal recipes. During the following weeks I will be sharing with you some of the recipes that are in the book, so you can start making tamales today. Unfortunately, my family is done with tamales for the rest of this year. During the process of making this book, there were at one point 480 tamales in my refrigerator! We gave some away, froze half of them, and ate as many as we could. Now my 6 yr. old thinks I can make tamales in the blink of an eye.

tamales in my freezer

The Recipe: Vegan Potato Adobo Tamales

These 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. 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

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Vegan Potato Adobo Tamales

Vegan Potato Adobo Tamales

Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 18 tamales
Author Dora Stone



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


  • 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


  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 vegetable shortening, on medium-high speed, with an electric mixer, until it has doubled in size and is nice and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the baking powder, salt, and beat for 1 minute to incorporate into the shortening.
  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.

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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  • mimi rippee

    These look fabulous. Good luck with your ebook!

  • Timaree

    These sound good. I’ve never made tamales but my son likes them so I may just have to try them. How large is your steamer? Mine fits into a 3 qt. saucepan and I am thinking that is not big enough for these.

    • Your steamer might be too small. I have a very large steamer, but I’ve also used an 8qt pot with a steamer insert successfully.

  • Laura Marino

    How can I substitute fresh masa in this recipe?

    • dorastable

      Hi Laura, if you want to use fresh masa replace the masa harina with 2 lb. of fresh masa and use only 3/4 cup of vegetable stock.