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Fat-Free Masa Dough for Tamales and Tofu Tamale Filling

Recipe by Bryanna Clark Grogan

Tamale dough is usually full of fat, so I’m always on the lookout for lower-fat versions. This one is adapted from Sunset’s, “Low-fat Mexican cooking.” I haven’t really experimented with these yet.

From SUNSET, March, 1994:

4 c. masa harina
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt 3 and 3/4 c. warm water or broth
(MY NOTE: I’m going to try some blended creamed corn next time, in place of an equal amount of liquid)

Mix all the ingredients together until moistened. Use or cover airtight and chill up to 2 hours. Yield: about 4 & 2/3 c.

TOFU TAMALE FILLING (Bryanna’s version)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Place in a 10×15″ pan:
1 and 1/2 oz. (about 4 large) dried ancho or pasilla chiles

Bake until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Let cool. Discard stems, seeds and veins. Place chiles in a bowl, cover with boiling water and let stand until pliable, about 30 minutes.

In a 10 or 12″ skillet steam-fry (without oil) or sauté:
2 large onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 c. broth

Steam-fry until the onions start to brown; add 1/4 c. more broth about 3 more times (1 c. broth in total), until mixture is browned and dry. Drain chilies and discard liquid. In a blender purée:
the chilies
14 oz. canned tomatoes and liquid
2 tsp. sugar

Add this to the onions and simmer, uncovered, until thickened, about 10 min.

Mix this sauce with:
3 C. slivered baked flavored tofu (extra-firm) salt to taste

To make the Tamales:

Follow directions for making tamales in a Mexican cookbook– this makes about 14 tamales and you’ll need 30 large cornhusks (about 3 oz.). (For each tamale you need a husk that makes an 8×10 rectangle.) Use about 1/3 c. masa for each. use about 1/3 c. filling for each. Steam the tamales for 40-50 minutes. Serve with beans and salsa.

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