Cinco de Mayo Recipe: Tamales

To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, check out this recipe for tamales! Olé!

For the Masa:

2 cups Masa Harina
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 cup vegan butter (melted)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 Tsp. baking powder
1 Tsp. Kosher salt

Mix it all up with a wooden spoon and refrigerate.
Can be made up to 3 days ahead.

For the Chile Colorado:
(for tamale filling and extra sauce as needed)

12 Dried Pasilla or Ancho chiles
3 cups (no chicken) chicken broth or strong vegetable broth
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 med yellow or white onion chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. ground cumin
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds grilled vegetables (zucchini, corn, carrots, portabellas...)
1 1/2 pounds Gardien Chicken scallopini or Gardien Beef tips defrosted and cut into strips.


Working on one chile at a time, use a paring knife to cut a slit all the way down one side of a chile. Open up the chile and remove the stem and seeds. Remove as much of the veins as you can.

Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Flatten out the dried chiles as well as you can and place on the skillet to heat. Press down on the opened chiles and leave for a few seconds. Turn the chiles over and heat a few seconds more. You do not want to toast or burn the chilies, just heat them enough to draw out more of the flavor.

Place the chilies in a bowl and pour boiling water over them to cover. Let sit for 15 minutes, until softened. Meanwhile, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add oregano and cumin and sauté for one minute more.

Remove the chiles from the bowl and place in a blender. Discard the soaking liquid. Add the chicken or vegetable broth, and onion mixture. Puree until the sauce is completely smooth. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning.

In a bowl, add Gardien or vegetables and add just enough sauce to coat. Save the remaining sauce to enjoy with cooked Tamales.

NOTE: This mixture can be used as a great burrito filling as well!

For the Finished Tamales:

You will need:
2 Bags of Dry Corn Husks


Go through the corn husks removing any debris. Separate the larger, usable pieces from the smaller bits and pieces. Place the husks in a large bowl. Cover husks with warm water. Set a heavy item (like a heavy bowl) on top of the husks to keep them submerged. Remove the husks from the water and pat dry. Place into a covered dish or a large plastic bag to prevent from drying out. Use only the larger and medium sized husks for the tamales.

Lay a husk on a flat surface with the long end at the top. The husk will resemble a rudimentary triangle. Have the point or narrow end at the bottom. Place 2 - 3 tablespoons of dough onto the husk. Starting from the upper left hand corner spread the dough about 4" across and 3" down. Try to keep the dough approximately 1/4 inch thick. Spread about a tablespoon of filling down the center of the dough.

From the masa covered left, fold the husk over the filling. Take the bottom of the husk and fold it up towards the top. Wrap the extra husk around the tamale and lay it flat, seam side down. NOTE: This method saves time by eliminating the need to tie up the tamales.

Set tamales upright in a steamer. You can buy large steamers made just for this purpose or you can rig something up. The idea is to have a small amount of boiling water on the bottom of the pot and a colander or mesh of some sort to keep the tamales away from the water. Cover the tamales loosely with more husks and a good fitting lid.

Steam for about 90 minutes. Serve with extra sauce.


  • Do not eat corn husks.
  • Do not let the water boil up completely. Add hot water to the pot as necessary, but keep it away from the tamales.
  • If some of the husks are too small or you have trouble closing them, use extra pieces of husk to wrap around the open areas.
  • Tamales last 3 days in the refrigerator, and 2 months frozen.
  • Relax, this should be fun!