By: Yolanda Bertaud
Maize in America – I like to start out addressing the corn topic in North America considering from 2009, 40% of the crop is used to make corn ethanol, 85% of the corn crop is Transgenic maize (Genetically Modified Corn), used mostly for farm animals and the rest as a vegetable then a grain. Today you will find corn ingredients in almost everything! From food additives, corn derivatives, cosmetics, shampoos, skin care products, vitamins, and the list goes on and on… it’s almost endless. Corn is a vital part and a main staple food in the Latin-American diet, and most people are still unaware that corn is produced from Monsanto - Genetically Modified seeds, or believe that GM corn is safe. If your not purchasing Non-GMO/organic corn products, i.e. as corn tortillas, then most likely than not you are eating your way to possible health disorders.
Here I’ll provide some links & simple basics on how to make your own corn tortillas, from natural non-gmo/organic grain that is quick & easy.
Pupusa a traditional Salvadoran dish, Arepa popular in Columbia, Venezuela, Panama, Puerto Rico, Canary Islands, and in other spanish-speaking countries. Talo - similar to the traditional Tortilla, a typical food of the Basque region of Spain, some varieties of Empanadas are made of corn, a favorite in Ecuador and Latin America, Southern Europe. Most corn flour used is called - masa harina, an instant corn masa mix with a Nixtamalization process.
I recommend brands that are Non-GMO/Organic or as natural as possible, it’s available in white, yellow, and in blue flour/corn. It is difficult to find organic/non-gmo masa harina, because of it’s process, and yes, they are much more pricey then the regular GMO brands, but it’s so worst it! Nothing compares to making your own from scratch, the two methods provided – one is extremely easy, it just takes a little practice to perfect your corn tortillas; & the other is really straight from the organic corn itself! This process takes time & patients, and this too once it has been perfected… you’ll never have anything like this, it couldn’t be any more homemade then this.
Nutritional Profile of Non-GMO Corn are good in dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B3 (niacin), manganese, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid).
“Antioxidant phytonutrients are provided by all varieties of corn. The exact phytonutrient combination, however, depends on the variety itself. Yellow corn is richer in carotenoids, especially lutein and zeaxanthin. Blue corn has unique concentrations of anthocyanins. Purple corn provides unusual amounts of the hydroxybenzoic acid called protocatechuic acid. Ferulic acid, beta-carotene, vanillic acid, coumaric acid, caffeic acid, and syringic acid are other key phytonutrients provided by corn. Corn is a good source of energy-producing vitamin B5; heart-healthy folate and niacin; and free radical-scavenging vitamin C and manganese”. For an in-depth nutritional profile click here: Corn.
- large bowl (glass or ceramic)
- tortilla press – wooden, cast iron, aluminum press
- rolling pin
- wax paper or plastic rap
- cast iron flat skillet or a large non-stick flat pan
- tortilla warmer lined with a kitchen hand towel or just a hand towel
- (optional) tortilla round cutter – you may use a medium side coffee can to cut & shape the tortilla after using the rolling pin/tortilla press
- 2 cups masa harina (to make 16-18 tortillas)
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups water (some brands may vary – check package instructions)
- (optional) mix in 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda for an added lift
- Mix masa, water & optional baking soda in a large bowl – let it sit for 5 mins. more or less
- Knead the masa mix for several minutes as if you would in bread dough, add water if masa is too dry – add masa if it’s too wet
- Start shaping golf ball pieces of masa dough into your hands – making 16 to 18 pcs.
- Take two pieces of wax paper/plastic rap and shape them into the size of the tortilla press, placing the wax paper on the bottom of the press & then adding a masa dough ball in the center, and placing the other wax paper on top. Close gently but firm, your tortilla should press in about 6″ in diameter. (You may use the rolling pin to stretch it out a bit more, keeping the wax paper attached to the tortilla).
- Remove from press and on a ready medium to high heat skillet, remove the wax paper on one side & place the tortilla on the other hand removing the other sheet.
- Place tortilla on skillet for 30 seconds to a minute on each side until it’s lightly toasted and you see some air pockets.
- Place in tortilla warmer/kitchen hand towel, cover. Serve immediately, or store in a plastic rap and keep refrigerated. Reheat for the next meal
- Link to a more detailed step-by-step image instructions http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_make_corn_tortillas
- Part One Real Homemade Corn Tortillas
- Part Two Real Homemade Corn Tortillas
- Part Three Real Homemade Corn Tortillas
* And those of you who are more adventures at home cooking, this recipe requires a little bit more patients & practice; I am sure like anything else – practice will make you a pro! I know what my next cooking project is…
Note: Also keep in mind, using Non-GMO/Organic Masa Harina you can alter the recipes according to the type of corn flour bread you desire.
With this foundation on eating healthier whole foods, I shall use this with my future Latin cuisine recipes and how to eat a well balance diet without giving up the favors.
Watch this video on Monsanto Genetically Modified Corn
Non-GMO Masa Harina Links:
- La Guera Tamalera
- Masa Lista – San Carlos Products
- Bob’s Red Mill Golden Corn Flour Masa Harina – Note: because of the process required to make masa harina, it cannot be sold as organic. This product is Non-GMO according to the company’s FAQ page.
- www.goldminenaturalfoods.com > http://shop.goldminenaturalfoods.com/Other-Grains-Products/products/13/ (corn masa)
- www.ansonmills.com > http://www.ansonmillsdirecttochefs.com/direct-to-chefs-5.htm (corn masa)