Corn and Black Bean Tamales

I have been trying different recipes to make vegetarian tamales. These could easily be made vegan if you swap the cheese for Daiya alternatives. We love making 30 of these, giving them to friends and family and eating them for quick breakfast or lunch. Tamale making doesn’t have to be this huge process. While it’s easier if you make a big batch, you really don’t need to go overboard. I did this in the middle of the week – started after work and they started cooking by 7 PM, done by 8:30 PM – while I did other things…so don’t get intimidated. Go and try it out! Its awesome to have them ready to go for quick meals or other nights that you are beyond tired to cook anything. Enjoy!!!


Corn and Black Bean Tamales


2 lbs of fresh Yoli masa
1 a cup of morita sauce (from Lamb Taco recipe) or you can use a can of chipotle in their juice/blended
8 oz of Nutiva Coconut / Red Palm Shortening
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 – 2 cups of chicken broth
Salt to taste
1 cup of black
2 cups of corn kernels from about 5 corn ears that have been grilled and charred a bit (see note below)
Monterey Jack Cheese
Corn Husks



Start by putting your fresh masa on your countertop to bring to room temperature. Meanwhile, take a deep dish and place on your kitchen sink. Rinse off your corn husks and then soak with hot water. Place a heavy dish on top to ensure they are submerged. Keep them there for the next 30 minutes.

In a mixer using your flat beater, mix your shortening, baking powder and about 1 tsp of salt (you can add more later if you want by salting a little your broth). Mix until whipped. Next set the speed on medium low and add a bit of masa at the time (about ¼ of cup). Continue mixing… add ½ cup of morita sauce or chipotle sauce. Keep mixing and add ¼ of chicken broth at the time until you get to 1 cup. Your prepared masa should be looking more like a hummus consistency – if not add more chicken broth. Taste your masa to ensure that it’s your desired salt level (I don’t add any, but if you like when you need to make saltier you can dissolve ¼ tsp at the time into your chicken broth, then add that to your masa). Tip – if you make your whole masa too salty there is no salvation, you have to start over L…so highly recommend treading lightly.

Leave your masa in the mixing bowl and cover up. Set in the fridge and let it sit for 60 minutes.

While your masa is settling down, I get my filling prepared. In this case, I drained all of my black beans rinsed and then made sure they are dry. I grilled my corn earns without the husk and just lightly buttered in a very hot grill (500). I moved them around ensuring that I was charring the ends about every 5 minutes. My total cooking time was about 20 minutes. I let the corn cool down and then cut the end flat and cut out all the kernels (see this video . Let them cool down and pat them gently to dry.

Set your cheese on a bowl…Drain all your corn husks and pat them dry. Set your assembly line.

Next take out your masa from the fridge and set your mixer. Mix in medium-high speed and if you need to adjust the consistency, add more chicken broth or water to make sure it’s a hummus / not too thick. Remove from the mixer and stir in corn and black beans. Set aside and you are ready to start making your tamales.

Set your husk and spread about 2 heaping tbsp of the masa on your husk. Spread on an even rectangle ensuring you are leaving an inch on the bottom and top. Then add a teaspoon of chipotle sauce (or you can omit if you don’t want too spicy) and add about 2 tbsp of cheese. Fold both sides of the husk to completely cover / surround the filling. Fold the thinner part of your husk over. Here is where I deviate a little… I wrap my tamales in wax paper – I have the square ones (10 X 10) to make it easier and I use 2 per tamale. Its super easy and I don’t have to worry about anything overflowing.

Once you are done, bring a steamer pot ready. Before adding your insert of the steamer as you put the water – I add a penny. This helps me listen in when the water is about to be gone and ensure I add more. Next add your insert and with ½ of your leftover husks place some of them on the bottom, then add your tamales standing up. Top with more husks and then close with your steamer’s lid. I cooked 30 of them in about 1.5 hours. Be careful on not overcooking as there is such a thing as overcooking. Your test is take one out and when you open it if it comes off the husk you are good to go. If it doesn’t send it back to the steamer.


p.s. these are some great instructions on tamale making. I feel that everyone has their own way, this is the one that works for me, though I know my grandma would not dare wrap them in wax paper – lol. It’s okay, just do what works for you.