I’ve been wanting to make vegetarian green chile tamales for a long time now, and the August 2012 Daring Cook Challenge inspired me to get it done! Rachael of pizzarossa challenged cooks to broaden their knowledge of cornmeal. Since I already use quite a bit of cornmeal, I decided to work with a cornmeal product – masa harina or ground hominy – which is used for tamales.
Bobby and I both love tamales but I always feel guilty about eating traditional tamales because of all of the lard. These corn, mushroom and green chile tamales use canola oil (or butter*), vegetable broth and a few sauteed vegetables. The total time – about 2.5 hours – is a lot shorter than traditional tamales that can take the whole day. This recipe makes 18 – 20 tamales.
For a vegan tamale use canola oil and follow the recipe as is. If you don’t mind butter, refer to the Kitchen Notes for a little change in the process.
Corn, Mushroom and Green Chile Tamales Recipe
Recipe Author: MJ of MJ’s Kitchen
Yields: 16 – 18 tamales
Prep and assemble time: 1 hour
Cook time: 1.5 hours
Large pot of boiling water for soaking the corn husks.
2 dozen corn husks
1 Tbsp. olive oil*
1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
3 large garlic cloves, minced
¼ tsp. ground cumin
1 cup corn (frozen or fresh)
2 cups diced fresh button mushrooms (2 – 4 large mushrooms)
½ cup chopped roasted, peeled green and/or red chile
½ tsp. oregano
2 cup masa harina
½ tsp. salt
¼ cup canola oil*
2 cup vegetable broth, chicken broth or water
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add the corn husks. Cover and let re-hydrate until ready to use.
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium low heat. Add the onion, garlic, and cumin and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add the corn and mushrooms. Sauté for another 2 minutes (or until the mushrooms start to release their water).
- Add the green chile and oregano. Cook for 1 minute and remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, combine the masa and salt. Stir to combine.
- To the masa, add the canola oil and broth. Using a rubber spatula, mix to combine ingredients.
- Add the vegetables and stir until vegetables are incorporated into the masa batter. The batter should be the thickness of a thick, but not dry. Add a little water if you think it’s too thick.
- Transfer a few of the husks from the water to a plate or bowl. Take one of the smaller, thinner husks and pull lengthwise into long thin strips that will be used for tying up the tamale ends.
- Spread about ½ cup masa/veggie mix down the middle of a corn husk, wrap the husk around the batter, and tie each end with one of the corn husk strips (picture right) OR spread about ½ cup masa/veggie mix down the top, middle half of a corn husk, wrap the husk around the batter, fold one end up, and tie around the middle of the tamales with one of the corn husk strips (see pictures below).
- Continue to assemble the tamales until all of the masa/veggie batter mixture has been used.
- Place the tamales in a steamer and steam, covered, on the stovetop for an hour. (See Kitchen Notes) Remove cover and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove one and test for doneness. If the tamale pulls away from the husk, it’s done. If not, steam for another 15 minutes and let rest again.
- Leave wrapped until ready to eat.
Prepping the corn husks – Instead of putting husks in a pot of boiled water, lay the husks in a large casserole dish and pour boiling water over them. To weigh husks so that they are IN the water, place a heavy plate or a smaller casserole dish that sits inside onto of the husks.
Butter instead of canola oil – Using butter instead of canola oil yields a little different texture and flavor. We love both but but prefer the tamales made with butter. So if you choose to use butter, then melt 4 tablespoons of butter in the skillet for sauteing the vegetables. Saute’ the vegetables as instructed. OMIT the oil in the masa. Just add the vegetables and the butter into the masa mixture and combine.
Assembly – Mixing the vegetables in with the masa saves A LOT of time and the assembly is much easier than laying down the masa then scooping the vegetables on top.
If the batter starts getting a little dry during the assembly process, add a little water and incorporate it into the batter. This makes the batter easier to spread.
The chile – I used New Mexico roasted green and red chiles (surprise, surprise 🙂 ); however, poblano, serrano, jalapeno, or even sweet peppers for a milder tamale would work fine. The amount of chile can vary according to how hot you do or do not want your tamales. I use hot chiles, but once added to the other vegetables and the masa, the outcome is a medium spice.
The broth – Use water, chicken broth or vegetable broth.
Wrapping the tamales – The traditional way for tamales is to place the masa mixture on the top half, down the middle of a husk, then roll and fold. Use a small strip of husk to make a tie to hold the husk folded (as shown in the picture). This creates a tamale open at one end, folded at the other, and tied in the middle. One thing that helps to keep water from dripping into the open ends during the steaming process, is to wrap the interior of the steamer with corn husk and, if necessary, divide the tamales into rows by inserting extra corn husks. This helps the tamales stand up straighter in the pot and adds gaps between tamales for better streaming results. Before covering, spread two husks across the top to cover the ends of the tamales
Recommended serving ideas:
- Smother with red chile sauce or green chile sauce.
- Top with black olives, fresh diced onions and tomatoes, then a little grated cheese. Pop in the microwave for 2 minutes and enjoy! We LOVED them this way! My Cantaloupe and Walnut salad made a great side dish!
- As an appetizer – Cut them into bite size pieces and serve with a dip such as a pepper sauce, chile sauce, or harissa.
- These tamales freeze very nicely. When ready to use, just thaw and heat in the microwave for 2 minutes and they are ready to go!
If you like these Corn, Mushroom and Green Chile Tamales, then you’ll probably like my other tamales:
Check out Emily’s Tamale Fiesta over at the Pursuit of Healthfulness. She made some gorgeous vegan tamales using this recipe!
This recipe was featured by Zesty South Indian Kitchen’s Hearth and Soul Blog Hop.