Gluten Free Vegan Tamales Recipe: we are the tamales we have been waiting for

If you ain’t got nuffin’ but ten dollar an a can o beans in this here world an a constitution against wheat, I have only one word for you: Tamales.

Or if, as a vegan who once dreamed of running away to join the rodeo, who sees their dreams die in the face of the overwhelming desire to live compassionately, who longs to truss something up as a manifestation that dreams can survive ethics, Tamales! You can hog-ties these little morsels all night long, make oinking noises, whatever, and still hold your head high!

Tamales are SCARY! They seem to have some kind of natural mystic going on, where only skilled artisans can make them. But it turns out to be easy! It blew my mind how easy. And delicious!!

I am only on my second batch, so I gots lots to learn, but so far so good. Last time around I made some delectable standard ones; black bean chipotle etc. This time, I added some green stuff and some quinoa. MAOCTOPUS NUTRIFY!

Let’s segue! First, the fillings (some suggestions):

Tofu Stuvz

Marinate some tofu with taco seasoning, lime, onion, garlic, salt, cilantro, tomato. Leave it for a day or two. Don’t look back, don’t you ever look back! When it is all mellow, fry that little sucker with some spinach. Oh yes chil’ren! Oh yes! Black Bean Chipotle with Cactus

Oh no they ain’t never keep us down! We gotz cactus and we ain’t afraid. No we aint afraid no more!! Cook up some of them sweet little black beans with some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. You know it’s gonna be good. I like the Trader Joe’s Cuban Black Beans with some La Morena Chipotles, but you got to be free to make your own choices!! This time I added come grilled (oh sweet succulent lamb!) cactus to the mix. Don’t get too crazy wid it, like I did though. Add some wine iffn yr feeling so inclined! Let this little bad boy think on things overnight before use to get those flayvahs mixing! Also, un pocito mash before use don’t hurt nobody. Like Durruti (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buenaventura_Durruti) said, destruction is a creative force. Embrace the power as you taste the flavor!

The new kid on the block: Soyritzo Riot!

Fry up some garlic, onion, and a Trader Joe’s Soyritzo, or whatever sausage you want (the soyritzo is gluten free, so it’s too legit). Now, you gotta lighten that party, so you squeeze in some lime, some tomato, and maybe even some corn. If it is too intense, it is just right! Check the color below:

Now, all this time you were kind of meant to be soaking some corn husks (known hereabouts as enconchadas?) in hotish water for 30-90 minutes. When they get pliable, dry them (I just kind of flick them around a bit, sending dogs and cats running for the hills) and look for nice wide ones. Keep the runtier ones (the Tom Cruises) aside and shred them into ribbons.

While soaking you need to make the masa goo too. Take some tamale corn flour, or just tortilla flour, mix it with the same volume of warm water or stock after adding a teaspoon of baking soda and some salt in there. Mix it up, then add 1/3cup of oil per cup of flour. Mix it in. I added some red quinoa (MAOCTOPUS NUTRIFY!) that I have prepared earlier (I have wanted to say that FOREVER!), as you can see. Here is everything ready to start the tamale assembly:

Now comes the tricky bit!

You take one of the corn husks, position it such that the pointy end is towards you. This is the ‘bottom.’ Put a dollop of masa on it, bout half way up. Then you smooth it all out fairly thin. As a filthy hippy vegan, and not one of those executive vegan types, I use my fingers for this. It adds flavor if not style.

Smear the masa towards one of the sides of the husk. This will help with rolling later. Try not to go too high or too low on the thing. You will find if you go too high, your wrasslin with it later will be fraught with stress and dribbles, too low and you can’t fold the tail. Thin masa making a big square is good coz it means you can get more filling in. As in everything in life, tamales are about ratios. Check it the photos above for smear areas and amount of filling to add.

Then you roll the husk up, first by folding the tamale in a pincer movement  so that the exposed corn on the edges of the square join up. Then in a unified rolling movement, with the filling enveloped, wrap the corn husk around. Then fold up the tapering tail at the bottom.

Now we wrassle, we truss! Take a ribbon of husk. Throw that tamale on the board, folding up its tail. Make fantasy rodeo specific sounds. If you like, make the sounds of the Animal Liberation Front coming to the tamale’s rescue. Tie around the tamale with the ribbon, pinning the tail up. This guy had an ‘accident’ (police brutality!!) and required an extra ribbon as first aid. Checkit:

Place in a steamer pot (a big one!) like so, leaving a hole in the middle to top up the steamer water as it cooks:

Throw any extra husks on top of everybody to help keep the steam in and add a husky tone to the whole thang. Steam for like forEVER! Try not to boil it dry- despite dire warnings in other recipes, nothing really bad seems to happen, but still, it smacks of unprofessionalism I say. Until the masa changes color, consistency and comes away from the wrapper when asked.

Eat. Now.

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~ by maoctopus on December 17, 2010.

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