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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Cinco de Mayo: Savory Lentil-Stuffed Tamales (GF Vegan)

Yields: 10 tamales | Serves: 3 | Prep time: 30 minutes | Cook time: 45 minutes

10 Corn Husks, soaked
Kitchen String (optional)
3 sheets of Aluminum Foil

2 cups Corn Flour (Masa Harina)
1 tsp aluminum-free Baking Powder
1/2 cup extra virgin Coconut Oil*
1 1/2 cups Vegetable Broth
5 drops of Liquid Smoke
1 tsp Veggie Bouillon**
1/2 tsp Celtic Sea Salt

1 cup cooked Lentils
1/2 can yellow Corn
1/2 can Green Chilies
1 tsp Veggie Bouillon
4 drops Liquid Smoke
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 red Onion, minced
Dash of ground Cumin
Dash of sweet Paprika

1 cup dry white Basmati Rice
1 can of Mixed or Black Beans
1/2 can diced roasted Tomatoes
1/2 can chopped Green Chilies
1/2 can yellow whole Corn
Dash of Ceylon Cinnamon
Dash of Red Chili Flakes
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 red Onion, minced
1/2 cup fresh Cilantro
1/2 Lime, juiced

* The oil may be omitted and replaced with blended creamed corn for a lower fat version!

** I use Better Than Bouillon brand's Vegetable Base. It is vegan and organic. The consistency is like jelly and it comes in a glass jar. All the products I use in this recipe are low-sodium or no salt added. You can adjust to your tastes of course.

Before beginning, make sure you have an oven-safe deep dish rectangular pan and wire rack that you can use for steaming your tamales.
Soak 10 corn husks in warm water. Rinse 1/2 cup of dry lentils and boil in a small pot for 10 minutes or used canned lentils, alternatively.

Meanwhile, let's begin the stuffing! Put a non-stick pan over medium heat and add 1 tsp of veggie bouillon with some water. Chop your onion and garlic, add to the pan and sauté until fragrant. Open your cans of corn and green chilies; drain and rinse the corn. Stir half of each into the pan with your spices. Drain the lentils and add two cups to your pan. Stir in the liquid smoke and remove from heat.

Now, to make your dough, add all the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Melt 1/2 a cup of virgin coconut oil by microwaving for 30 seconds. The solid oil will expand so use just under half a cup OR replace with an equal amount of blended creamed corn. Add your veggie bouillon and liquid smoke to the veggie broth and microwave for just over a minute. Meanwhile, thoroughly mix the coconut oil or creamed corn into the dry ingredients. Finally, stir the veggie broth into the dough until paste-y.

Remove the corn husks from the water and squeeze off excess liquid. Lay on paper towel or cutting boards. Make sure the husks are laying lengthwise vertically. Use a large spoon to scoop a ball of dough onto each husk. Place the ball in the center and press down with your fingers. You want to leave an inch or two on the top and bottom of the husk. The dough can go close to the edges to help your tamale stay shut after rolling. The dough shouldn't stick to your fingers are should make a nice oval shape, about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.

Now, spoon 1-2 tablespoons of the filling into the center of each dough pocket. Flatten slightly with your fingers, but make sure it runs lengthwise. To fold, bring either the right of left side of the corn husk towards the center of the tamale. Then, pull the opposite side up so it brings the dough together. Tuck one side under the other and wrap the husk around snugly. Now fold the ends over and flip the tamale over. Repeat for all 10. You can tie them with kitchen string, if desired.

Preheat your oven to 400F. Add you wire rack to the deep pan. Make sure the rack is at least an inch off the bottom. Add enough water to cover the bottom, as much as possible without touching the rack, and a few drops of liquid smoke. Place the tamales on the wire rack. Cover the pan with 3 layers of aluminum foil. Place in the oven and steam for 40 minutes.

To make the sides, soak your rice for 30 minutes while the tamales cook. Then, drain and add to a small pot with enough water to cover the top of the grains and the juice from your diced tomatoes. Boil for 6 minutes. In the pan you used for your stuffing, add your minced garlic and onion. Cook until soft, then add the remaining corn, chilies and lentils. Stir and add your spices. Drain and rinse a can off beans, add to the pan. Stir in half the can of tomatoes and half a lime worth of juice. Chop some cilantro and toss in the end.

Serve with guacamole and vegan queso fresco, if desired. Try not to eat them all yourself!
Enjoy :)

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