Our first time making tamales was a wild success. I used a hybrid recipe from a couple of web sites, hat tips to:
- 1 pack dry corn husks
- 3 cups masa flour (Bob’s Red Mill organic masa harina)
- 2t baking powder
- 2t salt
- 1 cup Earth Balance vegan butter
- 1t Better than Bouillon dissolved into 1 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup additional water
- Filling (jalapeno, pasilla peppers, pinto beans, cheese*)
- *Note: we used lactose-free cheese in this recipe, so not actually vegan. However the recipe is easily made vegan by substituting the cheese.
- Soak corn husks in hot water. They float, so use something heavy to keep them under water. We soaked for about an hour and husks turned out fine.
- Mix dry ingredients (not including corn husks). I started this process in my Cuisinart but quickly realized it lacks adequate capacity and had to mix by hand.
- Add in the butter, cut into smaller chunks.
- Mix in bouillon + water until evenly mixed. I initially did not have the extra 1/4 cup of water but the dough felt dry. Probably fine to use slightly more or less water as needed.
- Cover dough and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Prepare filling of choice.
- Remove husks from water and allow to dry slightly. We did not dry them more than just shaking over the sink as needed.
- Form dough into rectangle on corn husk. The “top” of the tamale should run parallel to the wide end of the husk, leaving about 1/2 inch between end of tamale and end of husk.
- Spread filling in a line through the center of the dough.
- Wrap corn husk like a cigar, fold up the bottom edge, and tie with a strip from an extra husk to prevent from unrolling.
- Place tamales in a steaming basket with the open side of the wrap facing up.
- Add 1-2 cups of water in the instant pot and steam in instant pot with vent sealed for 20 minutes. Then manually (but carefully!) vent steam – no need to do a natural release.
We ended up with 14 delicious tamales. I would try to spread the dough more thinly next time to make a 15th tamale, which is about the maximum I can fit in my steamer basket. We topped the tamales with homemade tomatillo salsa (recipe to follow). I plan to update this recipe to improve accuracy and add tips as we will definitely be making these tamales again.