Sunday, April 19, 2009

Vegan Tamales: Take 1

My missing tamale notes decided to turn up! Actually, I decided to clean my room a little....  This is yet another first attempt at a food I'd been meaning to make for a while.  The masa turned out pretty good, even though I'd heard it can be tricky to get it right.  This definitely took a long time and a good bit of labor but wasn't hard by any means.  The masa made enough for about 24 tamales (if i remember correctly, and it's been a few weeks now) but there was a lot of filling left (which made made delicious burritos with some extra rice and beans!).  I was pretty pleased with the 3:2:1 masa:broth:oil ratio and will just scale it to how many I want from now on...The filling on its own was a little bit spicy, but wasn't so much when eaten in the tamales. I'll use more poblanos next time!

Seitan and Summer Squash Tamales:
for the filling:
1 recipe seitan (I made the one from my seitan asada) chopped
3 poblano peppers
2 cups diced summer squash
6 cloves garlic (at least)
1/2 c chopped onion
salt to taste

Roast the poblanos until slightly charred (I used a broiler) and place them in a bowl covered with plastic wrap for 10 minutes to steam. Peel off the skins.  Discard the seeds and membranes and chop the flesh.  Saute all of the filling ingredients until the squash is slightly softened.

for the masa:
4 1/2 c Masa flour (I used Maseca brand)
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1 tbs chili powder
1 tbs cumin
1/2 tbs onion powder
1/2 tbs garlic powder
3 c vegetarian beef broth
1 1/2 c oil
salt to taste

Mix the masa flour and spices in a large bowl.  Stir in the broth and oil and need with your hand for a few minutes. Add water or masa so that the texture is soft but moldable. 

Soak dried corn husks in warm water for about 20 minutes (until they are pliable). Shake off the excess water and dry them off slightly before filling. Spread about a half cup of masa on the husk leaving two adjacent edges uncovered and add 3 or 4 tbs filling to the middle, like so:

Fold the long side of the husk that has masa spread to the edge over the filling and roll it to completely surround the filling. Fold the unfilled end of the tamale over like an envelope:

Place the rolled tamale with the fold side down to keep it together while you roll the rest.  Stand the tamales upright on the folded ends in a large steamer. Steam for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours until the masa is solidified (check by peeling back the husk on a tamale).   I served these with mexican rice, black beans, guacamole and pico (I don't have any pictures of the fully assembled plate - I was hella hungry by then!). 

Sunday, April 12, 2009


One for the list of awesomely stupid things I'll spend hours doing just to amuse myself: A killer Rabbit of Caerbannog cake (for easter, duh)! The cake was eaten and there was much rejoicing!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Faux Pho Bo

I was planning on posting about the tamales I made, well, I guess like two weeks ago now, but I can't seem to find where I wrote down all the measurements (that I remember to write things down at all is amazing enough!). So I guess I'll HAVE to make some more, much to my test kitchen's dismay I'm sure! 

Instead I'll post my first batch of Pho (before I misplace that).  This is another food that I decided to make without ever having the real thing, and no one who tried any had real beef Pho either, so I can't vouch for authenticity...but it was tasty!  I was stingy with the anise since I am not a huge fan, but it was very subtle so I would even add more next time.  I also used store bought vegetarian beef bouillon.  Yeah, I cheat sometimes.

Vegetarian Pho Bo
8 cups vegetarian beef broth
1 1/2 - 2 inch section of ginger, sliced into 1/4 inch rings
3 whole star anise (or more)
2 cinnamon sticks
2 Shallots, quartered
3 - 4 Tbs soy sauce (to taste)
7 oz rice noodles 
1 recipe seitan
bean sprouts
lime wedges
fresh cilanto
fresh basil leaves
sliced scallions
sliced thai chilis

Prepare a recipe of seitan: I used the same one as the asada tacos but replaced the spices with 1 tsp garlic powder and 1 tsp pepper and used 2 Tbs soy sauce and 1 Tbs Worcestershire instead of equal amounts. 

While that bakes make the broth:  Toast the shallot, cinnamon and anise a few minutes in the bottom of a pot. Add the ginger slices and broth, bring it to a boil and let simmer for at least a half hour.  Strain the broth and return it to the pot.  Add soy sauce to taste.  

Prepare the rice noodles according to the package (mine weren't in English, but I soaked the noodles about 15 minutes in cold water and boiled a few minutes in salted water until they were tender but not mushy).  Slice up the garnish veggies and seitan, throw it all in a bowl and enjoy!