ENP Low-Fat Tamales – Bexar County

Extension in the City Success Stories

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Text Transcription: ENP Low-Fat Tamales

This is actually a low-fat tamale demonstration for the Northeast Independent School District and what we are doing is offering an alternative to the traditional tamale.
Yes, it’s part of the MP program, we’re trying to promote better and healthy eating, not only for the adults, but for the children.
We do have high incidences of obesity and Type II diabetes in Bexar County and that is actually where the health concern comes in and so we have found an alternative to some traditional foods that are made in this region.
We’re having a lot of people, a lot of young people, with heart attacks, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart attacks, cancer, especially colon cancer, and we’re looking at all that so we need to change our ways of eating.
I’ve been, of course, trying to lose weight and been on weight watchers so this is great and the clarity of all the options I have so that I can make it low fat.  Then I can figure out how to put it in my dietary needs.
The traditional tamale is actually high in fat and what we’ve done is substitute some ingredients.  For example, we have substituted lard in the masa with canola oil, we have substituted pork in the filling with chicken and we use chicken broth to moisten the masa.
“You’re going to lay them flat into the container, a large container, the larger the container the better.”
We’re working a little backwards today.  The first thing that we’re going to do is that we’re going to demonstrate the cooking techniques for the tamales because that does take some time, and then we are going to go step-by-step through the preparation items.  For example, we are going to prepare and demonstrate the husks and then we are going to move into preparing the chicken for the filling of the tamales and there is some salsa which is prepared for the filling and the masa.  That will be the 3rd thing that we cover.  Once we do that, we will actually move into the most difficult preparation which is going to be the masa and once we have completed those items, the participants will get masa, filling, etc. to actually spread, fill and roll the tamales.
So far, I’m able to see how I’ll be able to put it all together and figure it all out.  That’s what is so critical about a class like this because it is so mysterious and it opens that up and makes it easy to see that here are the critical steps, but here are all the variations that you can make.
It’s important when you do tamales you get the feel for what you are doing, then usually you know.  If somebody just teaches you, then you don’t pick it up as fast and you go home and you’re lost.  You have to say, how did she say, how did we do it, but if it’s hands-on, you’re going to pick it up because you’re doing it yourself and that’s very important.  To me, that’s the most important thing.