old-eats made new

I’ve been talking about making tamales for… like… ever. It’s the Texas-holiday combo that had me trapped in the craving. Everywhere I went there were corn husks and tamales by the dozen and aluminum foil bundles. And although I was having a rather intense craving for them, I just didn’t trust that any of the suckers that were out there were REALLY vegetarian.

I had seen vegan recipes for tamales in the past, but was skeptical and uncertain that they would recreate that ummy melty goodness that I was wanting. I got the last of my ingredients – the banana leaves – and got to making the suckers. The experience was nowhere near as daunting as I remember and I was sitting (at my computer) with a plated tamal within two hours of having started.

I replaced the usual lard that is used in most masa recipes with olive oil and proceeded with everything else just like I learned from my mami. I went plain and simple for my test batch of 15 – black bean puree from the fridge wrapped in the soft, steamed wonder dough.

I’ll leave you with the recipe for the black bean puree and I promise to write in the next week or two on the actual process of making the tamales. I’m gonna give them another whirl with a larger batch, more fillings and a recipe or two to go with.


2 cups of cooked black beans (canned or from scratch)
1/4 teaspoon of dried cumin
1 tablespoon of olive oil
juice of one small lime

Throw all the ingredients in the food processor or blender. Puree till smooth. Pour puree into a large non-stick skillet and cook over low heat until puree darkens to an almost chocolatey black-brown. (Note: add pureed chipotle in adobo sauce to ingredients in the blender for some extra kick )

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