Nosferatus Need Nixtamal
I love chips. Anyone who knows me, knows I have an insatiable hunger for them. I can eat a whole bag without blinking an eye. Of course, afterwards I feel like crap but that has never seemed to stop me. On my current diet, I am only aloud to eat blue corn. Last week I ate two whole bags of blue corn chips. Immediately my dandruff, a symptom of candidiasis, returned. Most of the food I eat is unprocessed. I decided that if I should continue to eat blue corn chips, I should have to make them myself.
Sasha bought a cast iron tortilla press the other day for $20. The next time I was at the health food store I bought some organic blue cornmeal. I borrowed the press and begun the process of making tortillas.
No matter the consistency of the dough, or harina, the tortillas would crumble in the pan. After hours of experimentation I gave up and began to search the net for a solution. Of course, I failed to notice that tortillas are not made from corn meal, but corn flour. In fact, there are several distinct kinds of ground up corn; cornmeal, corn flour, corn starch, masa harina, blue cornmeal, atole (roasted blue cornmeal, and harinilla (blue corn flour) also called harina azul. Each one is the result of a different kind of process, and each has it’s own individual uses.
I found that many sites say that corn flour and/or masa harina are best for making tortillas. What most of these sites do not mention are the differences between corn flour and masa harina or the blue corn version, harinilla. Corn flour is simply ground up dried corn. Masa Harina is ground up nixtamal.
Nixtamal (also called hominy in the states) is an Aztec word that can be translated to “corn softened in wood ashes.” It is a combination of two other Aztec words; “nextli” which means “ashes” and “Tamalli” which means “unformed corn dough.” Nixtamal is made by soaking corn in an alkaline solution such as lime water or lye. This causes the outter hull to separate from the grain, making it much easier to grind.
It has many other benefits than that. The process of nixtamalization makes the vitamins in the corn, such as niacin, available to humans. When corn was introduced to other countries, the process of nixtamalization did not go with it. This caused outbreaks of diseases such as pellagra among people who ate corn as a staple. There is a cool theory that the myth of vampires followed the corn-induced pellagra outbreaks.
It seems to me that any corn that has not gone through the process of nixtamalization is not really food. Before I make corn chips, I’ll need to make my own nixtamal. At least now I know the whole process that goes into making corn tortillas…
1. What are safe, efficient and non-toxic ways of making limewater/lye from natural sources?
2. What are the nutritional differences between corn species?
3. Will my addiction to corn chips ever go away?
4. Have I turned into a vampire?
Show your support and appreciation for Urban Scout