Published by: Gourmet Sleuth
Last Updated: 10/30/2015
This recipe for slaked corn (Nixtamal) can be used for making pozole (hominy) or for making tortillas.
Each step is detailed in the next section below.
Place the corn in a colander and rinse under cold water. This step just helps to loosen and rinse away any extra hulls and dust pesticides that might be coating the corn. Ideally you would use organic corn but some of the special Mexican varieties are difficult to find when trying to buy organic.
Add 2 quarts of water to a large (at least 4 quart) noncorrosive pan. Place the pan over high heat and add the lime (cal) and stir until it is dissolved.
Continue until the corn is all white (except the tips). Drain the corn well. This cleaned, prepared corn is what is called "Nixtamal" or "Nixtamalado".
Pictured above you can see the little brown "heads" left on the corn. If you are making Pozole and you want the kernels to open (flower) then you need to "de-head" the kernals. De-heading simply means to pick off those little tips. This rather time-consuming step is optional and does not affect the flavor of the pozole, just the appearance.
After completing the final cleaning step (above) the corn is read to use in your favorite pozole recipe. Here are some pozole recipe suggestions:
You can use one of several tools to grind corn. The most traditional of the three is the metate, a stone slab with a rolling-pin shaped "mano". This is an efficient but laborious grinder. Probably the most commonly used tool today is a cast iron grain grinder. Corn grinders are inexpensive and relatively easy to use. The third tool is a food processor. While can grind the corn into flour the particle size may be inconsistent. The next section gives a brief description of each tool.
The traditional tool for grinding the nixtamal is the metate y mano. If you are an adventurous cook and don't mind a good work out then you'll enjoy using the metate. Depending on the size of your metate, place a handful or two of corn on the top surface. Use downward pressure on the mano and roll across the corn (like a rolling pin). Continue until the corn becomes finely pulverized. Repeat until all the corn has been ground.
While this is less labor intensive than the metate the corn mill requires significant effort. Use the corn mill fitted with a stone plate. The stone plate, rather than a metal plate will produce the smoothest textured dough. Place the corn in the hopper and grind it through using the finest setting. The resulting mixture should be smooth and not gritty.
Once the corn is all ground add approximate 2/3 to 3/4 cup of water to the corn and mix to form medium-soft dough.
You can use your food processor to prepare the dough for tamales but it does not get quite fine enough for tortilla dough. Grind the corn in small batches, pulsing the corn 5 or 6 times. Then let the processor run continuously until the corn is the proper consistency.