Husk the corn and save the leaves. Soak the leaves in water. Save the corn silk if you want to make tea.
Cut the kernels off the cobs. Process in a food processor until finely ground (see photo above for consistency).*
Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, mix together corn, vegan cream cheese, vegetable shortening, masa harina, and salt until mixed thoroughly.
For each tamal, open the corn husk and spread about ¼ cup of the masa (the dough) on the widest part of the husk, an inch from the side (it will spread and spill out upon steaming). Using a fork, place a strip of Hatch green chili on top of the masa.
Roll the husk tightly and fold over the small edge. Pinch it so that it stays shut. Tie a thin corn husk ribbon around tamal, if desired. Repeat until the dough is used up.
In a tall pot, lay a few husks flat on the bottom*. This is to prevent burning your tamales in case the water gets too low. Place steamer on top of the leaves. Add water up to steamer. Place tamales in vertically. Steam on low heat for 45-50 minutes. Add warm water to the pot as needed. A water bottle works well for adding water. You will know the tamales are done because the masa creeps up to the ends of the tamales.
To freeze them, wait until they are completely cool. Leave the tamales in their leaves. Place in a freezer bag and resteam or microwave before serving.
Tamales should be made the same day that the corn is ground.
You may need more or less masa harina depending on the consistency of your corn. If your corn is really wet, you will need more. Masa harina provides a fine consistency to mix in with the course consistency of the corn.
Depending upon the spice level of your chiles, you may want more or less.
One way to watch the water level of your pot is to place a coin under the steamer. If the water gets too low, you will be able to hear the coin rattling.