Chema Hernandez-Gil, co-founder of Seed the Commons, prepares the filling for his vegan tamales. Seed the Commons, a San Francisco-based organization, hosted a food justice lecture which was followed by the tamale-making workshop.
Guest speaker Aparna Sharma helps make tamales for the attendees.
Sharma helps create the foundation for the tamales by spreading out the masa with her hands. “You want to make it like a pizza dough, have the crust be more thick for when you're going to close the tamales,” she said.
Graduate world arts and cultures/dance student Melissa Melpignano chops cilantro bundles. Once finished, she added the chopped greens to a mix of tomatoes, onions and lemon juice to create a condiment similar to pico de gallo.
Sharma (left) and world arts and cultures professor Janet O’Shea (right), squeeze fresh lemons to add lemon juice to the rest of their own pico de gallo.
O’Shea taste-tests some pico de gallo.
Instead of beef, chicken or pork, the tamale recipe called for a vegan filling of black beans, roasted corn, mushrooms and other vegetables. “We’re not replacing meat with anything, it’s just a reminder that it doesn’t need to be there at all,” said Nassim Nobari, director of Seed the Commons.
Hernandez-Gil adds black beans to the vegetarian filling of the tamales.
After creating the vegetarian filling, Hernandez-Gil adds spinach and mixes it well with the rest of the filling before putting the filling in the tamales.
O’Shea wraps the tamale in a corn husk. O’Shea said she did not have prior experience making the Mexican dish until the workshop.
The tamales should steam for around 20 minutes to ensure proper cooking of the corn dough, called masa.
After around 20 minutes of steaming, Hernandez-Gil and Nobari serve the hot tamales to the workshop attendees.
Sarah Denison-Johnston, a fourth-year anthropology student, makes her first tamale during Wednesday’s workshop. She said she and some friends will do a tamale night since they learned how to make the dish themselves.
Marcia Argolo, the world arts and cultures/dance department’s management services officer, flatten the masa to make for a wide enough canvas for the tamale filling. “Making tamales was easier than I thought,” she said.
Those who attended the workshop sample the tamales.