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Jan 24, 2013 10:13 PM

Tamales without Manteca (lard)

The pig wasn't introduced into the Americas until after Columbus...but how were tamales made before manteca because so commonplace in Mexican food?

Are there tamales in Mexico now that don't use manteca or butter or shortening or oil but something else?

Somewhere I read about some people using ground pumpkin-seeds...

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  1. According to "Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs", no fat was added to tamales, at least in the Aztec region. Quote here: http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodmaya.....

    You can certainly find vegetarian tamales in Mexico today but they're typically made with vegetable oil or shortening. There's such a vast variety of tamales that I wouldn't be surprised if somewhere there are still some forms that don't use any added fat, but I don't think I've ever seen such a thing.

    I can see adding pumpkin seeds for texture and flavor, but not as a fat substitute.