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How to Make Vegan Hot Tamales

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Learn how to make quick and easy vegan hot tamales step-by-step in this informative post. Naturally gluten-free!

A pile of tamales on a plate.

Hot Tamales

Hot Tamale has a range of interpretations, sometimes it can mean an attractive person, other times a comical situation, and even a sweet-hot candy, but the original definition is a dough-based corn meal from Latin America. Hot tamales are simple and delicious; here are the steps you need to make them. 

Soak the Corn Husks 

Corn husks are not for eating, but they are essential to the process of making the perfect hot tamale at home. A corn husk is the outer shell of an ear of corn; it helps to protect the plant from insects and weather conditions as it grows. The corn husks can be bought separately for meals. 

When making a hot tamale, you will need corn husks to assemble the meal and configure it; remember, tamales are made from a variety of ingredients that need to be held together somehow. The first step is to soak the corn husks so that they are soft and flexible at the end.

Make the Dough

Another ingredient central to the process of making a tamale is the dough which needs to be made from masa for the best results. Masa is a traditional type of dough made from corn and nixtamal; it has a particular consistency and taste and needs to be added to the tamale mixture.

Place the dough mixture in a large bowl and beat it until it is light and fluffy; this will form the outside shell of the tamale and must be uniform and tight. It should only take a minute to beat the dough; you can test if it’s light enough by putting a piece of it into the water to see if it floats.     

Cook a Tasty Filling 

Traditionally, a hot tamale has a meaty filling which is usually chicken or beef, but what if you have a plant-based diet? The good news is you can cook a tasty hot filling for your hot tamale that is completely meat-free if you want. Some of the best fillings are seitan, tempeh, and tofu.

To get the best flavor for your filling, you will need to create a cooking sauce. Start by putting some flour in a pan with vegetable oil and cooking until it is brown, then add your seasonings, including spices such as chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, cayenne, or hot sauce. Add your choice of plant-based meat and bring it to a boil.   

Assemble Tamales 

Once the filling is cooked, it’s time to put everything together and serve your hot tamales. Take the soaked corn husks from the bowl and put some dough inside them; flatten out the dough so that there is plenty of room for the filling and the sides are the perfect thickness for the tamale. 

When you’re ready, add the filling to the center of the tamale and fold the two edges of the corn husk together. Tie the corn husks with kitchen twine, and place them on a plate for your evening meal or your party food. If you have any leftover tamales, they can be placed in the freezer and frozen for later.    

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