Chilahuates (Banana Leaf Wrapped Tamales)
Ready in 30 minutes
2 c Vegetable broth; lukewarm
1 clove Garlic; finely chopped
1/2 c Almonds; blanched and finely chopped
1 ts Baking Powder
6 Jalapeno chiles; stemmed
1/2 c Vegetable shortening
1 ts Salt
1/4 c Fresh Cilantro; chopped
1/4 c Vegetable oil
3 Banana leaves
Salt; to taste
1/2 c Scallions; finely chopped
4 c Masa harina
1 c Black beans
1 Chayote squash; finely chopped
Put the beans in a medium pot, add water, and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 1-2 hours (depending on the size and age of the beans).
The beans are cooked when their skins break easily when stirred.
In a mixing bowl, beat the masa harina with the vegetable shortening, alternating with the broth until it is light, about 10 minutes.
Add the salt and baking powder. Beat 2 minutes more.
Clean and boil or char the banana leaves (if you cant find them already precooked).
Trim out the hard veins and cut the leaves into approximately 8-10″ squares.
Heat the oil in a skillet and saute the garlic and scallions until golden.
Add the chayote, chiles, almonds, cilantro, and beans.
Mix completely, stirring and cooking everything together.
Season with salt to taste.
On a banana leaf square spread out a little less than 1/2 cup of the masa harina like a pancake.
Top with approximately 2 tsp. of the vegetable/bean mixture.
Fold over the leaf like a package and repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.
Place the tamales in a steamer, overlapping them diagonally to allow steam to pass through, cover the pot and steam for at least 1 1/2 hours, checking the water level from time to time. (Peel away the leaf and only eat the filling.)
Serve with tomatillo or chipotle chile salsa.