Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Yuca Tamales: Recipe

Recipes for authentic, really good vegetarian tamales are few and far between. I recently came across this unusual recipe for Yuca Tamales in the incredible book The South American Table by Maria Baez Kijac which I checked out from the library this weekend. The original recipe called for a meat garnish, which I've omitted.

Tamales de Yuca

Relleno (filling):
2 Tbsp canola oil

1/2 tsp ground annatto or paprika
1 onion, sliced

1 cup green pepper cut into thin strips
1 cup red pepper cut into thin strips
1 large ripe tomato, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, mashed into a paste with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried basil

Masa (dough):
1 pound trimmed fresh yuca or frozen yuca

1 tsp lemon juice
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 eggs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup cornstarch

1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder

One 1-pound package frozen banana leaves, thawed in the fridge overnight (or parchment paper)


2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut into wedges
8 black olives, halved and pitted

1. Place fresh or frozen yuca in a large saucepan. Add salted cold water to cover and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes. When a fork goes in easily, the yca is done. Drain and let cool. Use a paring knife to cut in half and remove the fibrous core at the center of the yuca.

2. To make the filling, heat the oil in a ;arge skillet. Add the annatto, onion, bell peppers, and tomato and cook, stirring occasionaly until it forms a thick sauce, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and basil and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and set aside.

3. To make the dough, mash the yuca with a potato masher. Add the butter and beat until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. (Do not use a food processor to make the dough. It will get gummy). Stir in the Parmesan. In a small bowl mix together the cornstarch, the salt, sugar and baking powder and fold into the yuca mixture.

4. Rinse the banana leaves and dry them with paper towels. Cut them into tamale size about 7 X 8 inches.

5. Place a banana leaf (or piece of parchment) on your workspace with the grain running left to right. Put about 1/8 of the dough in the center of the leaf and flatten it a bit to make a 3 X 5 rectangle. Top with about 1/8 of the filling. Place one egg wedge and 2 olive halves on top. Fold the banana leaf up and tie up with twine. (if this is difficult wrap the whole tamale, banana leaf and all in aluminum foil). If using parchment, fold and tie with twine.

4. Put the tamales in a steamer basket and steam for about 30 minutes. Serve hot.


Anonymous Jenny said...

Steve said, (and I quote) "Come look at what I'm having for dinner on Saturday night." It sounds very yummy!!

7:50 PM  

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