Kale and Shiitake Tamales

Kale and Shiitake Tamales


I always crave savory foods. I’m definitely a potato chip over ice cream type of person (not that I really eat either of those things anymore, but you get what I’m saying). I actually want to spend some time this summer and try to work on making some sweet treats. My approach to desserts is usually to just skip them. This is fine for me and Scott, but it’s not really great for when we have people over. I always feel bad when I offer people a packaged baked good after I took the time to try to make them something with a lot more finesse for the main course. Until I get all of that sorted, however, I will continue to write up some of my savory gotos, like these kale and shiitake tamales.

These tamales satisfy that need for super savory and also deliver on the creamy unctuousness I find myself looking for. The only special equipment you need is a steamer or steamer insert for you stock pot. A lot of them come with one or you can buy relatively cheaply. They have a million uses so it’s worth it.  I won’t lie to you, they do take some time, but most of it is inactive so they are a great weekend meal! I’ll give you my kale and shiitake filling recipe and try to come up with some more for later.

Kale and Shiitake Filling


4 oz sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 cup chopped kale
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
1/4 cup veggie stock


  1. Coat pan in oil (or don’t, you do you!)
  2. Saute the mushrooms
  3. When those start to brown add everything else and let cook, stirring gently occasionally until the kale has softened
  4. Put aside (or eat it! Again, you have to do you)

Tamale Dough


2 cups Masa (It's a corn flour. You need a precooked corn flour. They sell a brand called PAN almost everywhere)
1 1/2 cups water or broth
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne (or chili powder, or garlic powder, whatever you like)

~20 corn husks (they sell these at most latin markets or in the latin section at the market)


  1. Soak the corn husks in very warm water. You can just put them in a large bowl and put a plate on top.
  2. Beat the coconut oil until it looks more opaque and fluffy.
  3. Add the masa and water/broth.
  4. Add the salt and seasoning of your choice.
  5. Combine until it becomes a playdough like consistency, not sticky, but very soft and pliable. If it isn’t there yet add more water (a tbsp at a time) as necessary.

Okay, now that we have the recipe down and everything is ready, I thought I would go through how to make them! I know, for me, that was the scariest part of trying to do these. It’s actually super easy!

Make sure your corn husks are pliable, if not let them soak longer or empty and refill your bowl with warm water. There is a ridged side and a smooth side, the smooth side is also the side the husks with tend to curl towards. Place the husk in front of you smooth side up.

Place about 1/4 cup of the dough in the middle of the husk and spread it out with your fingers.

Add, what I can best describe as a tong-full of filling in the middle of the dough. I used what I could easily grab with my tongs. It was probably 2 tbsps or whatever your filling is divided into 8 equal parts.

Then you roll the sides in towards each other so the dough encases the filling.

Once that’s done, roll them up like a burrito and you can use a strip of corn husk or twine to tie them up if you need to. I generally just lay them seam side down.

I use my bamboo steamer for this but can use a steamer insert and a stock pot. Add and inch or two of water to the bottom of the pan/pot and line the bottom of your steamer with corn husks (I used parchment paper in my bamboo steamer). Place on your stove on medium heat, with the lid on, for about an hour and a half. Make sure to check there’s enough water periodically.

Then stuff your face! I hope you enjoy!

Much love,


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