Hibiscus Rose BBQ Vegan Tamales
Hibiscus Rose BBQ Vegan Tamales
Making my first vegan tamales recipe was super intimidating! My husband really loves traditional tamales and grew up with them. I had never even had a tamale until I met him! To make him the ones he grew up loving was my mission, so I was determined to get it right.
I made a more traditional jalapeno and bean vegan tamale the first time, which we loved, but I also made these pretty vegan tamales with a floral BBQ sauce which are less traditional, but we loved just as much. These are a little sweet and tangy with a hint of spice.
What are Vegan Tamales Made Of?
The soft shell of tamales is made from a corn batter called masa harina and it’s usually mixed with a lard to make it easily spreadable. The tamales are then stuffed, tied and steamed. Some recipes call for pan frying the tamales after they are steamed, like this one.
These meaty vegan tamales are made from slow simmered jackfruit. I highly recommend seeking out where you can get some jackfruit for this recipe. You can usually find it with canned foods. You want the kind in brine and not sweet syrup. If jackfruit is new to you, it’s a tropical fruit that’s packed with antioxidants, fiber and potassium. You most likely will never see the whole fruit for sale at the market, as it;s huge and pretty expensive for a whole one.
Don’t be alarmed that it’s a fruit. When you buy it in the brine, you won’t seed to worry about it being sweet. It shreds really well, making it a great meat substitute when flavored accordingly.
Corn husks for tamales are pretty easy to find online or at spice shops or Mexican markets. This is what you will spread the corn batter on, stuff, fold, wrap and steam. You can peel little strips of the corn husk away to make a tie to keep the filled tamales in place while they steam.
Before you can use the husks you will need to clean them and let soak in filtered water for at least an house. If you miss this step, they will be more difficult to work with.
Using hibiscus with BBQ sauce was something I always wanted to try this felt like a natural place to finally give it a go. Hibiscus is pretty easy to find dried out in tea form. I love this organic one from Egypt. I bough it a while ago and use it mostly for tea, but now also for BBQ sauce.
Edible roses are pretty easy to find online. I like these ones. You can also use them for so many fun drink recipes, smoothie bowls, and pretty salads so they are nice to have handy. You want to make sure you are buying specifically edible roses and organic is preferable.
This is the fine corn meal that will become your tamale batter. It’s kind of like a mix between a traditional flour and a traditional cornmeal you may be use to crusting friend green tomatoes or okra with. Depending oh where you live depends on where you can find it. I like this brand and I like that it’s organic too.
The Vegan Hibiscus Rose BBQ Sauce
This sweet and tangy BBQ sauce is totally vegan and has the most lovely floral undertone. The key to getting the floral flavor to pop is to seep the hibiscus and rose for at least a half an hour before you reduce it. Once it’s seeped long enough, you will marry in the other ingredients and then simmer the jackfruit to make the centerpiece for your vegan tamales.
How to Assemble Vegan Tamales
I used some beet powder in the masa harina to give it that pink color. It’s not really necessary to do because the color will fade when they steam, much to my surprise. I believe if you use food color drops the color will stick, but I wanted to keep these more natural.
I sprinkled the inside of the tamale husk with some spices before spreading the masa batter. You can use whatever spices you want to give it a little spicy kick.
After you spread the masa harina, you will add a layer of the BBQ jackfruit. You don’t want to over-stuff the tamales, as they will spread out of the husk when steaming.
Once you have both layers in your corn husk, you’ll want to fold it like a taco lengthwise. You’ll want the massa to meet and connect to form a kind-of tube shape.
Once you have your tube shape, you’ll flap one of the long flaps over the batter and then the other flap over the first flap and then manipulate and mold the tamale into the desired shape. Once filled out the way you want it to be, fold the bottom up and tie it into place so it stays secure while steaming.
How to Cook Tamales
If you have an insert for a steaming pot, that would be ideal. You will be able to cook many tamales at once, and that’s ideal because it takes two hours. If you don’t have an insert for a big pot you can use a bamboo steamer and cook six at a time.
How to Plate Tamales
These tamales can be eaten straight from the steamer, but they plate well with BBQ sauce drizzle, so pan frying them to give them a little bit of crispiness and a protective barrier against the sauce works perfectly. After the two hour steam, just give them a quick pan fry for about 2-3 minutes each side. You won’t need to add oil because the batter has enough in it to sustain a nice crispy fry.
If you have been a little worried about making vegan tamales, I hope this has given you the confidence to dive right it! They are such a fulfilling meal to make and they freeze so well, so you can make a bunch at once!
Vegan Hibiscus Rose BBQ Tamales
Vegan tamales made with hibiscus rose jackfruit BBQ are a stand out dish to make for a large crowd or even for yourself and to save a bunch and enjoy later.
- 1 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup edible dried roses + more for garnish
- 1/2 cup edible dried hibiscus
- 1 large onion roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup of ketchup
- 1/4 cup fruit vinegar
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 kg/1000g of jackfruit in brine, hard pieces removed and shredded
- 1 cup + 2 1/2 vegetable broth
- corn husks, cleaned and soaked for 1 hour or more until easily flexible
- 2.5 cups of coconut oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1.5 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp beetroot powder
- 7 cups masa harina
- 4.5 cups hot water
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp beetroot
- Preheat oven to 350* F
- Soak corn husks in water for an hour or until they are softened.
- Take the onion and drizzle in olive oil and cook in oven until soft and fragrant.
- In a small bowl combine boiling water with the edible roses and hibiscus and let seep until completely cold.
- In a medium bowl mix together the BBQ sauce base: ketchup, fruit vinegar, coconut sugar, and liquid smoke and set aside in fridge.
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Add jackfruit. Continue to break apart the jackfruit as it browns in the frying pan.
- Once the jackfruit is evenly browned add 1 teaspoon of cayanne pepper and 1 cup of vegtable broth. Continue to mix.
- Take the transulate onions from the oven and blend until smooth.
- Add the puree onions to the jackruit mixture and stir.
- Add the rose and hibiscus liquid.
- Add 1/2 the BBQ base to the jackfruit mixture and place the rest in the fridge.
- Continue to cook the jackfruit on a low simmer until the sauce reduced almost all the way.
- Once finished, set aside. It will thicken a bit when it cools.
In a large bowl mix together the masa, water, salt, and baking pwder until well combined. Add the coconut oil and broth, one cup at a time, mixing between each addition. The mixture should resemble cake batter. Adjust as necessary.
1. Dry off the soaked corn husks and use a couple to peel little strips from to make ties.
2. Sprinkle the inside of the corn husk with desired herbs. I used turmeric, beet root, and cayanne powder.
3. Spread a tablesoon of the masa mixture on the corn husk and spead evenly.
4. Add a 1/2 tbsp of the jackfruit mixture on top of the masa mixture.
5. fold the husk in half legnthwise until the masa touches and you can form them together to make a tube.
6. Fold the tamale.
7. Tie the tamale.
See Images above for further help.
The tamales need two hours to steam. You can cook more in a large pot with a steamer or up to six in a bamboo steam basket.
Once the tamales are steamed, let them cool a little and then open them up an pan fry for about 2-3 minutes on each side.
Use the BBQ sauce from the fridge to plate the tamales along with some excess jackfruit and rosepetals for garnish.
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