Corn and Bean Tamales

I tried tamales once at our favorite San Francisco Mexican joint, Gracias Madre, and immediately wanted to reproduce them…  Considering the fact that I wasn’t following any particular recipe, but chose whatever I felt right for the dish and combined it with whatever fridge content needed to be cooked, I wouldn’t completely rely on my unprofessional opinions here.  Nevertheless, these vegetarian tamales turned out delish!

My Russian interpretation of tamale is that they are just like tacos – masa dough + filling.  Except that the dough is not made into a pancake (tortilla) but steamed in a corn husk. Hence, I like my masa to be thinner – as I think the real delight is inside… 

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CORN AND BEAN TAMALES

INGREDIENTS:

Filling:

  • 1 cup corn (cooked)
  • 2 cups pinto beans (cooked)
  • ½ bunch cilantro, chopped
  • ½ cup Mexican cheese blend, shredded
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup seasonal vegetables, diced
  • salt, pepper, spices

Dough:

  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro leaves
  • 1 (8 ounce) package dried corn husks
  • Kitchen twine
  • Sour cream and salsa for garnish

Yields about 12 tamales

DIRECTIONS:

Soak the corn husks in warm water for about 30 minutes

Prepare the filling: mix all the ingredients

Prepare the dough: mix all the ingredients and let cool in the fridge for about 15 minutes

Make tamales: put two corn husks together, overlapping, so they make a plate.  Make a small ball out of the dough (size of a golf ball) and flatten it on the husks.  Place a large helping of the filling in the center of the dough and cover the filling with edges of the dough.  Wrap the husks around the tamale and tie the edges with the twine.  Repeat with the rest.

Make ahead: Once the tamales are assembled, they could be frozen for at least 3 months.

Cook tamales: Steam tamales for 30 – 45 minutes in a steamer.

Serve with sour cream and salsa.

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