It has been very exciting to get hold of “Masa Harina” from our fantastic Health Food Store in Atherton, to make authentic mexican corn tortillas! We had these for dinner last night and the man of the house said they are the very best yet! They were delicious and soft, and held together really well without breaking, even for the little kiddies!
We Pinkfarm girls love any foods prepared by traditional methods especially when it comes to grains. Masa Harina, the flour used to make these tortillas, is made by soaking and cooking corn grain (maize) in a dilute solution of slaked lime or wood ash, and is then dried and ground into a fine flour suitable for making a dough. This is called “nixtamalization”.
This age old traditional treatment of corn greatly enhances the nutritional benefits of this grain. Nixtamalization enables vitamin B3 to be released and absorbed from the corn. This simple practice is what prevented the development of Pellagra (Vitamin deficiency) in these cultures. Nixtamalization also increases calcium uptake and protein availability in corn and reduces Phytic Acid which avoids its nutrient blocking effects.