My little brother is a vegan. Some people would think this is awful, terrible, bad. It’s usually followed by the question WHY? Maybe it’s because I’m his sister, but I kinda think it’s cool. In fact, I see it as a culinary challenge. Hence, the reason for these Northern Style Bean Tamales, or Tamales de Frijol Norteños.
It starts with an ancho sauce for the beans. Save 3 tablespoons of the ancho sauce for the masa, and add the rest to the beans. “Ancho” glad we’re using these. LOL! My mom used to make these ancho beans and serve them with chips as a dip. Sooooo yummy.
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Soak the corn husks then apply a thin layer of masa. Then add about a tablespoon of the ancho beans to the center of the masa layer.
Fold one side in.
Fold the other side in.
Fold the peak of the triangle in, and set aside. Repeat until done… or exhausted. Whichever comes first. 🙂
To a large pot or steamer, add all the tamales and water. Cook for 2 hours. Check for water after 1 hour. Add more water if needed.
I usually turn the heat off and let the tamales sit in the pot for 10-15 minutes. You can’t rush a good thing. Take one of the tamales out and let it cool slightly. Your Northern Style Bean Tamales, or Tamales de Frijol Norteños, are ready when the masa pulls away from the husk easily. Enjoy!
Watch How to Make Northern Style Bean Tamales
- 36 Corn Husks
- 4 ancho chiles - stem removed, seeded, deveined
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1lb refried beans
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 pound prepared masa
- Sort the husks and remove any debris.
- Place them in a large container and add warm water.
- Submerge the husks under water by covering them with a heavy lid.
- Set aside for 30 minutes.
- For the Chile Ancho Sauce:
- Place the chiles in a pot of water. Add enough water to cover them.
- Bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Turn heat off.
- Let sit in hot water for 5 more minutes.
- Reserve 1 cup of water used to cook the chiles and drain the rest.
- Add softened chiles into the blender, 1 cup reserved water, garlic, cumin, and salt.
- Blend until smooth.
- Reserve 3 tablespoons for the masa.
- Set everything aside.
- For the Ancho Beans:
- Heat oil in a large pan.
- Add the cooked beans and ancho chile sauce (except for 3 tablespoons).
- Mash until smooth.
- Taste and add salt as needed.
- Cook for 10 minutes on low heat, stirring constantly.
- The beans are done when the consistency is like a thick paste.
- Set aside and let cool.
- For the masa:
- Prepare the masa.
- Add the reserved 3 tablespoons of the chile ancho sauce and mix well.
- Set aside until ready to use.
- To Assemble the Tamales:
- Drain the husks.
- Add a few of the smaller husks to the bottom of the steamer or pot.
- To each corn husk, add a thin layer of the masa.
- To the center of the masa, add a tablespoon of the beans.
- Fold one side in.
- Fold the other side in.
- Fold the pointy top inward.
- Place inside the pot.
- Repeat with each corn husk until there are none left, and the pot is full.
- Add about 2 cups of water to the pot.
- Cover and cook for 1 hour.
- Check for water. If it needs more, add more water.
- Cover again and cook for an additional 1 hour.
- The tamales are ready when the masa comes away easily from the corn husks.