When birria meets tamales this magic happens! Amigos you’re going to love these vegan birria tamales made with oyster mushrooms. You need to eat them by dipping into the birria broth for a delicious experience you’re going to love.
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When I was planning the recipes for my vegan tamales cookbook I knew I wanted to develop and include a birria tamales recipe.
The tamales turn out delicious and bursting with the delicious flavors of the birria. Served with a bowl of the broth makes the meal that much more delicious!
Have you tried my vegan birria recipe yet? I’ve shared how to make the broth and vegan meat but also the vegan quesabirria tacos. My recipe is very easy to follow and not to mention super delicious — if I do say so myself!
Instead of the traditional goat, beef or lamb I use oyster mushrooms for a vegan version. The rest of the flavors are the same…and it’s very close to the real thing. As matter of fact, hardcore meat eaters have told me the broth is so similar and they loved it.
First Soak The Corn Husks
The first step before you start making the broth, filling and masa for the tamales, it’s to prepare the corn husks.
First we need to sort through them and remove any dirt and debris from the husks. You may want to discard the badly damaged ones. The small or ripped ones reserve for lining the tamales steamer.
Once sorted thoroughly rinse the husks then place in a large container or leave in a cleaned sink. Fill or cover with hot water and leave to soak and hydrate.
You can move on to the other steps. You’ll know the husks are ready when they’re soft and flexible.
How To Make Vegan Birria Broth
To make the birria broth we first need to simmer the dried chilies with some onion, tomato, and garlic until everything is soft.
The blended sauce needs to be strained over a colander into a small pot.
Next the aromatic spices, cider vinegar, Maggi sauce are added. The pot needs a good stir to incorporated the spices as best as possible.
If we were going to be making just birria consommé then all of the vegetable broth would be added at this time. But we don’t want to do that just yet because we want to keep the broth a bit thick still.
This is so it can be mixed into the “vegan meat” and not be so runny. We need the meat filling mixture to be thicker so it doesn’t make the masa fall apart.
Now we let the broth simmer under low heat while we go and make the vegan meat filling.
How to Make The Vegan Meat for The Tamales Filling
One of my most favorite ingredients to use to replace meat in my vegan and vegetarian recipes is mushrooms.
Oyster mushrooms to be specific.
To make the filling we simply need to shred the oyster mushrooms into strips. Then we slice some onion into thin slivers.
Next in a large pan we heat up some oil then add the onion and sauté until soft. Then add the oyster mushroom strips and drizzle some Maggi sauce over them. Now we sauté and cook until they’ve become a bit crispy — or to your desired texture.
Lastly we need to add some of the chile birria broth to the mushrooms. We all to cook for a little bit so the flavors can come together nicely. Then it’s ready to be used.
Make The Masa for Tamales
Making the masa is also incredibly easy.
Shortening is whipped until fluffy then masa harina, baking powder and salt are added to it. The ingredients are whipped until thoroughly combined.
Then slowly the broth is added until we have a light, airy, creamy masa.
Once you have the masa ready, you can drain the corn husks in a colander then start to spread the masa over the husks. After they have masa then we can add the filling.
How to Stuff The Birria Tamales
The next step after spreading masa over the corn husk is to grab a little bit more than a tablespoon of the mushroom filling and place it in the center of the spread masa.
Then we grab one side and fold it toward the center, the we grab the other to join both sides.
Next we bring up the pointy tip of the corn husk to join the folded sides.
That’s it! We can continue until all of the filling has been used up.
How to Steam The Birria Tamales
The last step before we get to eat these yummy tamales is to actually cook them.
Take your tamalera or steamer pot and fill with tap water until the indicated line on your pot. Then place the steamer rack and line it with hydrated corn husks.
After the tamales have been filled then we can carefully being to arrange them around the inside of the tamalera. Don’t overcrowd your tamales.
Next you can cover with hydrated corn husks OR you can cover the steamer pot with aluminum foil, make a small hole in the center. Place the lid on the pot then put on the stove.
Set on stove on high heat until the pot comes to boil. Then lower the heat and steam for 1 hour, check to see if they’re done and if not steam for another half hour before checking.
When you test the tamal for doneness simply remove from the heat and let it sit wrapped for 10 minutes. After this time unwrap it and take a test.
If the tamal is done the masa will hold together and feel solid. If it’s raw then it will fall apart and feel too wet.
If the tamal you test holds it’s shape then you can turn off the heat and let the tamales rest for 10 minutes before serving. You can allow to cool a little before serving.
Birria Tamales Recipe
Birria Tamales (Vegan Birria Tamales)
Vegan Birria Meat Ingredients
- 1 lb. oyster mushrooms shredded will yield 9 cups raw
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil more if needed
- 1 whole medium white onion halved and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoons Maggi Seasoning
Birria Broth Ingredients
- 4 whole large guajillo chiles
- 2 whole chiles de arbol optional for a little heat
- 2 small roma tomatoes
- ½ medium white onion cut into 4 pieces
- 4 whole large garlic cloves
- 4 cups water for boiling
- 1 whole bay leaf crushed
- ¼ teaspoon Mexican dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin seed
- ⅛ teaspoon ground clove
- ½ teaspoon ground canela
- 2 teaspoons Maggi Seasoning
- 1½ to 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
- 2 to 4 cups vegetable broth low sodium if possible
- 7 oz. shortening at room temp this is 1 cup
- 1.1 lbs. masa harina for tamales
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 3 to 5 cups low sodium vegetable broth at room temp
- 30 or more corn husks for 20 tamales and the rest for the steamer
Corn Husks Instructions
- Sort through them and remove any dirt and debris. Thoroughly rinse and place in a large container or right there n the sink, cover with enough hot water. Leave to hydrate until softened and flexible. Drain off excess water before spreading the masa.
- Use a damp cloth or paper towel to wipe clean the chiles, then cut off the stem and deseed. In a pot place the chiles, the tomatoes, onion and garlic cloves. Pour enough water to cover them and simmer until chiles are rehydrated and the onion is soft.
- Once the chiles have rehydrated, use a slotted spoon to remove them and vegetables from the pot and place into a blender. Add ½ cup of the boiling broth, blend until you have a perfectly smooth salsa. You can use more boiling broth if needed.
- Use a colander to strain the salsa into a pot. Then add the bayleaf, oregano, ground black pepper, allspice, ground cumin, ground clove, canela, remaining Maggi Seasoning, the apple cider vinegar and stir until well combined. Mix in 1.5 cups of the vegetable broth and simmer for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Do not add more broth yet!
- While you wait for the salsa to simmer you can cook the shredded oyster mushrooms. In a large enough sauté pan to fit the mushrooms, heat up 2 Tablespoons of oil then add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent. Then mix in the shredded mushrooms, and drizzle the teaspoon of Maggi seasoning over them and cook until they have softened and gotten a little crispy.
- Add 1 to 1½ cups of the chile sauce to the mushroom and cook for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. The mixture should be saucy but not swimming in sauce. Allow to cool before using as filling or storing in the refrigerator.
- Place the shortening in a large mixing bowl, remember the end mixture is going to yield 3 lbs. so your bowl needs to be large enough. Whip the shortening until it’s creamy, light and almost fluffy.
- Add half of the masa harina, all the baking powder and the salt. Mix for a few minutes on low speed to help start incorporating the flour into the shortening. Little by little begin adding 1 cup of broth — but don’t add it all at once, it won’t only splash up all over the place, but you may not need to use all of the broth to get the correct consistency.
- Start increasing the speed and start adding the remaining masa harina until it’s all been added, and keep adding in more broth until you have a smooth and spreadable texture. You can test the masa in a little bit of water and if it floats it’s the perfect consistency.
- Spread the masa on the corn husks then add a couple of tablespoons of the birria, fold then steam.
- Pour water into your tamalera then cover the steaming shelf with hydrated corn husks. Next arrange the folded tamales inside the pot. Cover the pot with aluminum foil, make a small hole in the center, cover and place on the stove.
- Over high heat allow the water to boil, then turn heat to low and steam for 1 hour. Then take out one tamal and let it sit for 10 minutes before unwrapping and testing. If finished cooking the masa will be solid and not mushy. If the masa is solid then turn off heat and allow to sit 10 minutes before serving. If not finished then cook another 30 minutes before testing again.
- While the tamales steam you can continue to make the birria broth by adding the remaining vegetable broth. Simmer for 40 minutes covered. Taste and adjust if desired before serving.
- Serve broth with tamales and some chopped cilantro and onion and some lemon wedges.
Vegan Birria Tamales
These tamales are very easy to make.
Yes, they’re going to take you a few hours to make. But the process isn’t difficult at all.
They are very much worth all of the effort, promise!
How to Serve Birria Tamales
These tamales taste incredibly delicious on their own, but also with a bowl of the birria broth.
While these won’t be as easy to dunk into the broth as the quesabirria tacos, you can totally still do it.
Make sure to serve the broth topped with some chopped white onion, cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.
Try More of My Oyster Mushrooms Recipes
- Vegan Quesabirria Tacos
- Oyster Mushroom Fajitas
- Vegan Menudo
- Vegan Fried Chicken
- Vegan Tortas de Milanesa
- Braised Oyster Mushrooms and Potatoes in Red Salsa
Try These Vegan & Vegetarian Tamales Recipes
- Vegan Masa for Tamales
- Sweet Tamales (Piña Colada Tamales)
- Jalapeño and Cheese Tamales
- Pibipollo Tamales
Nancy Lopez is a food blogger and author of the cookbook Mexican Tamales Made Meatless. Born in Mexico, raised in the US, and currently living in Southern Mexico, she has followed a meatless diet for almost 10 years. It is her passion and mission to share all she has learned about vegan Mexican cooking and vegetarian Mexican recipes. Mexican Made Meatless is a blog dedicated to preserving the authentic flavors of Mexican cuisine just without the meat. It’s a place to celebrate Mexican culture and all it’s delightfully delicious traditional foods. Read more…