Tamales are like little pockets of joy filled with saucy deliciousness! There are so many different types of tamales that originate in Mexico and Central America. There are sweet tamales, savory tamales and tamales that are made from corn masa, rice and flour.
I grew up eating tamales rojos (red tamales). These tamales are typically filled with pork and a savory red sauce that is not spicy. I made these 100% vegan by substituting the pork for jackfruit and the lard for olive oil/coconut oil. You may have already guessed it, but the flavor comes from the savory red sauce and lightly seasoned masa. Veganizing a recipe can be SO EASY! This recipe was handed down by my grandmother and my mom helped me veganize it so I hope you give it a try.
What makes these tamales different?
In many other parts of Mexico, the masa is much thicker and there is typically less filling. The masa to filling ratio is pretty even with these which makes them even more satisfying and delicious in my opinion!
These tamales are typically made for special occasions especially Christmas. Growing up I only really ate tamales during the holidays which made them even more special to us. I recommend making these with your significant other, friends or family. The art of making tamales is time consuming but also very therapeutic, fun and meant for sharing.
Substitutes & tips:
I highly recommend using Maseca brand for the dough. This is the best and most authentic masa harina to use.
If using coconut oil make sure to use refined coconut oil to avoid getting a coconut taste in your tamales. I typically choose to use olive oil over coconut oil but that’s just me. I know other love using coconut oil as well.
Shredded king oyster mushrooms is a wonderful substitute for jackfruit. Since mushrooms do shrink when cooking I recommend getting about 2 lbs of king oyster mushroom.
When toasting the chili peppers make sure it is no longer than 5 seconds on each side! They will get bitter and the sauce will not taste good.
Not a fan of red sauce with jackfruit? Make them tamales de rajas! Stuff with strips of carrot, jalapeño, vegan cheese and potato. SO GOOD!
This recipe make a huge batch of tamales so if you don’t plan on making them for an entire family + more, make half a batch or less. These tamales freeze well for a few months and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
To reheat properly, please steam. When heated in the microwave they may dry out too much.