1. Add the dried corn to a a small pot. Pour in enough water to generously cover the corn. Spoon the lime into pot and mix in. 01:04
2. Bring the mixture to a boil on the stove for 45 minutes. Turn off the fire, and let the mixture sit for about five to six hours. 02:08
3. After five hours, test the corn to see if it is cooked. Take a bite of corn and if the center is white and the corn is "al dente" then it is ready. Using a slotted spoon, strain the corn, reserving some cooking liquid to use later. Transfer a few spoonfuls of the corn into the molcajete. 02:45
4. In the molcajete, begin to mash the corn. Once mashed, add a few more spoonfuls of corn and continue to mash. It will take about 10 minutes to mash all of the corn into a smooth, doughy paste. 03:30
5. Once the mixture has been thoroughly mashed it will have a texture resembling Play Doh. If the dough feels dry, add in a teaspoon of the reserved cooking water. The end result is a slightly sticky but smooth and pliable mixture that can be rolled into balls and flattened for homemade tortillas. 04:15
What You'll Need
- Small pot
- Straining spoon
- Bolita corn, dried (2 ounces)
- Conico corn, dried (2 ounces)
- Powdered lime or "pickling lime" (1/2 teaspoon)
Conico corn comes from Oaxaca. Bolita corn comes from Michoacán. They are both heirloom varieties and non-GMO. A combination of these two types of corn is effective for making masa because the texture becomes mealy as opposed to pasty. Conico and bolita corn can be purchased at Mexican supermarkets by the pound. If you can't find bolita and conico in the supermarket, you can opt to use another type of corn such as blue, red, yellow, or white.
Powdered lime aids in breaking down the husk around the corn as it cooks. It can be purchased from most Mexican supermarkets and is often labeled as "cal mexicana". It can also be purchased at some specialty grocery stores under the name of "Pickling Lime."
The corn will cook during the six hour resting process. Soaking for six hours will yield the maximum flavor for the kernel, similar to the braising process for meats. The corn is ready when the center of the kernel is white and there is a thin stripe present in the middle.
A molcajete is the Mexican version of a mortal and pestle. It has been a staple tool in Mexican cooking since ancient times, used to crush, grind, and blend ingredients. The grinding tool, known as a tejolote, is shorter than a traditional pestle. Molcajetes are typically made of basalt or stone, and can be purchased from most kitchen supply stores.