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Thread: Tamale: Masa & oil

  1. #1
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    Tamale: Masa & oil

    So can some one out there recommend the best light fat oil to use in Masa? Can olive oil be used? If not why not? What are the options for using olive oil if appropriate? If olive oil, is not appropriate what would be the next light oil? It might be canola oil or canola & olive oil. If there are any food tech's who may know, please follow-up or respond with your recommendation.
    May the Holy Spirit be with you!

  2. #2
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    there is no such thing as "light" oil...fat is fat is fat..l....with that in mind, butter has slightly less calorie content because it also contains some water....
    it's the profile of fat you care about (mono unsaturated, poly, blah, blah...)
    Isn't traditional fat used in mexican cooking lard??
    I've tried to find REAL lard but can now only find lard WITH hydrogenated oils added..YUCK. IF you could find real lard, that would be healthier than butter....otherwise "healthy profiled" oils are olive and canola...

    sorry if I didn't answer your question....let me know...
    any other "food techies" out there??
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  3. #3
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    I've made tamales with my uncle in Kansas who is a really amazing Mexican cook, and we found that using a smaller than called for amount of corn oil did the trick. They were just as tasty as the tamales made with lard, and they were a bit lower in fat.

    I'm sorry that I don't remember exactly how much oil we used, I just know that we cut back on the fat significantly and it made tamales that were still wonderful.

    Good luck


    -Becca

  4. #4
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    While olive oil would work, it might give you a flavor that doesn't complement Mexican dishes as well. (kind of like how it's better to use sesame oil in Asian foods because of the flavor it gives off). I'd agree w/Becca that corn oil (or canola, which is what I prefer) would work.

    Wallycat -- are you serious....is lard really better for you than butter?! who knew! I know that Crisco stuff is horrible for you. What do you look for in "real" lard, just the lack of hydrogenated oils? Anything else?

  5. #5
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    I make tamales all the time and I agree that you probably don't want to use olive oil. I usually use canola oil. I took a vegetarian cooking class and we used canola oil to make the tamales and they taste great. I have used it ever since. Good luck with your tamales

  6. #6
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    Susanmac,
    i'm not saying lard is good for us....but yes, it has less saturated fat than butter and also has some monounsat. fat.
    If it's the same stuff I find (and it says lard with hydrogenated oils)...skip it. It's a trans fat carrier and they are worse than butter (in my opinion--health wise, not saying anything for taste).

    Lard is really hard to get unless you have a butcher who can get it for you...it needs to be rendered and is a time consuming process...I don't know if there is a product out there that is a nice, finished, lard...
    (it's supposed to be the fat near the kidney of the cow, if memory serves me.....)....
    maybe i can search out a website to locate "clean lard".
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  7. #7
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    RE: Masa for tamales

    Thanks to all who responded to my inquiry. I now know that using olive oil is technically fine to use if I want. One response suggested to use real lard as apposed to not real which I did not understand. Let me extrapolate. Cooks have used lard in tamales mainly because it has been traditional. It has been the taste. I believe that Mexicans used lard in the ancient past because that was about all there was. Today is today. This means we can focus on health and nutrition. I believe oils digest differently. There is hydrogenate
    May the Holy Spirit be with you!

  8. #8
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    RE: masa for tamales

    Whoops there is more: for some reason my complete message could not be posted. Don't know what happened but thanks...
    May the Holy Spirit be with you!

  9. #9
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    Re: RE: Masa for tamales

    Originally posted by L.R.Zabala
    Thanks to all who responded to my inquiry. I now know that using olive oil is technically fine to use if I want. One response suggested to use real lard as apposed to not real which I did not understand. Let me extrapolate. Cooks have used lard in tamales mainly because it has been traditional. It has been the taste. I believe that Mexicans used lard in the ancient past because that was about all there was. Today is today. This means we can focus on health and nutrition. I believe oils digest differently. There is hydrogenate
    I have just finished reading a book by a book historian, called "Why we eat what we eat" and he has researched the foods all over the Americas. In fact, Lard was never used by the Mexicans to make tamales at all before Columbus. Why? because it is a pork product, and they had no pigs before the Spaniards introduced them to Mexico during their voyages there. Pigs were nonexistent in the New World, they are not originally native here. SO, tamales were made with Masa and water to bind it, and typically stuffed with vegetable or other "native" proteins. (read different types of crawling creatures) Later, with the introduction of Pork, the Spaniards and Mexicans mixed the cuisines together and used lard instead, and Pork for the fillings, etc.
    SO, I guess the bottom line is- the "newer" Mexican taste that we know today as the "traditional" is not at all original!

    Use oil! use water!

    I thought it was a fun factoid....
    Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

    - Phillipians 2

  10. #10
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    food factoid

    Interesting food tidbit. I know there are many Mexicans that do no and perhaps did not eat much fatty foods such as lard. It may be the Holy Spirit helps determine good foods and some are able to hear the Word. The Bible says not to eat fat and not to eat pork or pork products. See Deut. 14:4-8
    May the Holy Spirit be with you!

  11. #11

    Re: food factoid

    Originally posted by L.R.Zabala
    Interesting food tidbit. I know there are many Mexicans that do no and perhaps did not eat much fatty foods such as lard. It may be the Holy Spirit helps determine good foods and some are able to hear the Word. The Bible says not to eat fat and not to eat pork or pork products. See Deut. 14:4-8
    Ah, those good old Old Testament laws... the prohibition of pork and shellfish.

    Can you even imagine??

  12. #12
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    I'm sure many dietary laws were "issued" more as food safety and through the years ended up being interpreted as "laws"....but I'm not well versed in this matter.
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

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