Cooking food wrapped in leaves is an age old practice followed around the world. Cabbage leaves , Grape leaves and Colocasia leaves used for wrapping and steaming are consumed along with the dish . Turmeric leaves, jackfruit leaves and screw pine are also used in steaming different kinds of kadubus which are peeled and discarded before relishing the food. Elai Adai , Idlies and Kadubus acquire a pleasant aroma and retain  moisture when banana leaves are either used as wraps or cups for steaming. Here is a steamed dish wrapped in corn husk which I relished during a visit to a farmer’s market . I tried out a vegan version of Mexican Tamales using freshly ground Sweet Corn paste and stir fried vegetables . Since fresh corn becomes slightly watery when ground , I have used wheat flour to adjust the consistency of the batter. Besan , Rice flour , Maize flour or any other flour of your choice can also be used .



Fresh Corn Cobs – 2

Wheat flour – 2 tbsps or as required

Salt – 1/4 tsp

Sambar Powder – 1/4 tsp


1. Separate the husks , wash and keep them immersed in hot water till required.

2. Remove the corn from the cob and grind to a smooth paste adding Sambar Powder and salt.


3. Blend in the wheat flour to make a thick spreadable batter.



Finely chopped carrots – 1/2 cup

Finely chopped cabbage – 1/2 cup

Finely chopped capsicum – 1/2 cup

Grated ginger – 1/2 tsp

Grated garlic – 1/2 tsp

Crushed pepper – 1/2 tsp

Salt – 1/4 tsp

Sesame oil – 2 tbsps


1. Heat oil and add crushed pepper followed by grated ginger and garlic.

2. When it emanates a pleasant aroma add all the finely chopped vegetables.

3. Stir fry till half done .


4. Stir in salt and switch off flame.


1. Drain and pat dry the soaked corn husks.

2. Spread out a husk and grease it on the inner side.


3.Place a lump of batter and flatten it along the greased husk.

4. Spread about three table spoons of the stir fried vegetables on the batter .

5. Fold the husk bringing the tip and and base of the husk together. 


6. Tuck in the folded edges underneath the Tamale and place it in a steamer with the folded edges facing downwards.


7.  Line the rest of the husks with batter, fill with vegetables and fold all the Tamales similarly and steam them for fifteen minutes.


8. Relish the warm Vegan Tamales with Tomato Sauce or Green Chutney after discarding the husk.

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