Oyster Mushroom Tamales with Mole Encacahuatado

Paola Briseño González roasts oyster mushrooms, concentrating their flavor, for a hearty vegetarian tamale filling. Paired with velvety, intensely aromatic, and deeply savory peanut mole, or mole encacahuatado, these tamales satisfy everyone at the table.

Active Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 10 mins


  • 22 ounces oyster mushrooms, large clusters separated

  • 7 tablespoons canola oil, divided

  • 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons black pepper, divided, plus more to taste

  • 3/4 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, plus chopped peanuts, for garnish

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 2 whole allspice

  • 1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick

  • 2 small tomatoes

  • 1 small yellow onion, quartered

  • 4 dried guajillo chiles (about 3/4 ounce), stemmed and seeded

  • 2 cups vegetable broth (such as Zoup!)

  • 3 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce

  • 24 dried corn husks (about 9 inches long and 7 inches wide at widest point), plus more for lining steamer, soaked at least 1 hour or up to overnight

  • Masa Preparada for Tamales

  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss together mushrooms, 5 tablespoons oil, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until mushrooms are golden brown and crispy around the edges, 20 to 26 minutes, stirring once after 15 minutes. Set aside to cool, about 20 minutes.

  2. Combine peanuts, garlic, allspice, and cinnamon stick in a large saucepan. Cook over medium, stirring often, until lightly toasted and fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer mixture to blender; set aside.

  3. Return saucepan to heat over medium-high. Add tomatoes, onion, and 1 tablespoon oil. Cook, turning occasionally, until blackened in spots, 6 to 8 minutes. Add guajillo chiles; cook, turning often, until darkened in spots, 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully add broth, chipotle chiles, adobo sauce, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil over medium. Cover and remove from heat. Let stand until chiles are softened, about 10 minutes. Transfer to blender with peanut mixture. Secure lid on blender, and remove center piece to allow steam to escape. Place a clean towel over opening. Process until smooth, about 1 minute.

  4. Return saucepan to heat over medium-low, and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Carefully add peanut sauce, and reduce heat to low. Cook, uncovered, stirring often to prevent scorching on the sides and bottom of saucepan, until slightly thickened and reduced to about 4 cups, about 10 minutes. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cool slightly, about 20 minutes.

  5. Place 1 corn husk on a clean work surface with narrow end pointing away from you; pat dry. Using back of a spoon, spread about 1/4 cup masa preparada lengthwise in center of corn husk in a 5- x 4-inch rectangle of even thickness. Spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons peanut mole over masa, leaving a 1/2-inch border of masa above and below the mole. Arrange 3 to 4 mushrooms lengthwise in center of mole. Fold one side of husk over so that the masa encases the filling. Fold top end of the corn husk down toward the center, and roll to wrap remaining husk around the tamal, leaving bottom end open. Repeat with remaining husks, masa preparada, mole, and mushrooms. Reserve leftover mole for serving.

  6. Fill a large stockpot with 1 inch of water. Place a steamer insert (at least 7 inches deep) in stockpot, ensuring water does not touch bottom of steamer. Line bottom and sides of steamer with corn husks. Stand tamales vertically in steamer, with open ends up, in a tightly packed single layer. Use aluminum foil to build a ring inside pot to hold tamales upright if needed.

  7. Heat pot over medium-high until steam is visible, 5 to 8 minutes. Place a layer of corn husks on top of tamales. Cover tamales with a clean kitchen towel, and cover with lid. Reduce heat to low, and cook 45 minutes. To test doneness, carefully uncover pot, and remove 1 tamal. Cover pot, and allow remaining tamales to keep cooking. Let tamal rest 10 minutes before unfolding. If masa sticks to corn husk, rewrap tamal, and return to steamer basket. Continue cooking tamales 5 minutes before checking again for doneness. If corn husk pulls away cleanly from masa, turn off heat, and let tamales rest in pot, lid removed, towel and husks in place, for 15 minutes.

  8. Reheat remaining peanut mole over low, and thin with a splash of water if needed to loosen. Serve tamales hot with peanut mole, peanuts, and cilantro.

    Oyster Mushroom Tamales with Mole Encacahuatado


Dried corn husks can be found in Latin markets or online.

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