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Old 05-22-2005, 12:59 PM   #1
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Question Masa Harina

Hey guys! I haven't been here in a while, but now I'm back....with a pretty important question. But first, the background:

This Friday is our county 4-H's Achievment Day. I signed up to do an International Foods Demonstration, and I chose to do it on Mexico. The dish I chose was Tamales, and I have no idea what masa harina is. Where do I get it? Can there be a substitute? Any other good Mexican dishes you would reccomend? I would appreciate the input!



Thanks in advance,
-Lauren-

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Old 05-22-2005, 02:12 PM   #2
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Masa harina is the "flour" used to make tortillas. I'm not sure there is any reliable substitute. I'm pretty certain that it is readily available in most large supermarkets in the "ethnic" or Mexican food section (usually on the bottom shelf!).

I have had homemade tamales ~ they are to die for. It was also pretty much a two day process if I remember correctly. =) But I'm sure there are ways to speed it up! (I think it was the soaking of the hominy that took so long).

Any way, best of luck with your demo!


Z

Quote:
Masa and Masa Harina Masa means "dough" in Spanish, but in Mexico it is generally understood as "corn dough." For some, masa is to Mexican cooking what stock can be to French, the defining and essential element. It is made by boiling corn kernels in powdered lime (calcium oxide), washing them and then grinding. Enough water is then mixed into the meal to make a dough. Smoother, soft masa is required for tortillas, and coarser, stiff masa is used for tamales.

Masa Harina is factory-made, powdered masa. It can be used to make anything that calls for masa.
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Old 05-22-2005, 02:25 PM   #3
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Depending on how much you need I know one chili mix that comes in a small brown bag. In it they have masa harina that is used for thickening the chili. I think there is about 1/2 cup, I can't really remember.
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Old 05-22-2005, 04:05 PM   #4
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Maybe Lugaru can help? Lugaru is originally from Mexico so may have some good advice for you.
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Old 05-22-2005, 04:23 PM   #5
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Try Pastelitos De Boda!

Wow, CookinBlondie, you really are brave to make tamales! There is an easier version on the back of the Alber's yellow corn meal box for Tamale Pie. It is good and definitely a crowd pleaser! Otherwise, if you are not totally committed to tamales, try making Mexican Wedding Cakes (really cookies) ~ Pastelitos De Boda. They are easy, tasty, and always a hit at parties. Here's the recipe ~ I often double it or triple it!!

Pastelitos De Boda (Mexican Wedding Cakes)
1/2 cup of butter, softened
2 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup flour
1 cup finely chopped or ground pecans or walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add flour, nuts, and vanilla. Roll small spoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls. Place on a parchment lined or greased cookie sheet and flatten lightly with a spoon or the palm of your hand. Bake at 325F for 30-35 minutes or until very light brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool only a minute or two. Then roll in additional sifted powdered sugar. Place cookies on rack to cool. Roll again in powdered sugar when completely cool. Serve with mugs of hot chocolate ~ no marshmallows ~ a sprinkle of cinnamon or a cinnamon stick to stir the chocolate is more authentic!
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Old 05-22-2005, 05:58 PM   #6
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Tamales911

Magia shares her tamales

Tamales?

I've got mine (sinaloa style) here together with some other recipies.

Greatest luck!
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Old 05-23-2005, 12:57 PM   #7
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Talking Masa Harina

Hello:

You want to know about Masa...here's a little bit:

Flavor description
A corn flour of finer texture than cornmeal. Developed by treating hominy (corn product) with lime again. The wet hominy is freshly ground to make a meal called masa. When masa is dried, it is referred to as masa harina.

How to use
Store in the refrigerator in air-tight containers for up to six months.

How to find
Masa harina can be found along with other flour and cornmeal products in large grocery stores and Mexican-American markets. Buy online at www.mexgrocer.com.

Related Recipes
Tortillas de Maz (Corn Tortillas)
Pupusa Casserole


Hope this helps...
Selket
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Old 05-24-2005, 12:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CookinBlondie
Hey guys! I haven't been here in a while, but now I'm back....with a pretty important question. But first, the background:

This Friday is our county 4-H's Achievment Day. I signed up to do an International Foods Demonstration, and I chose to do it on Mexico. The dish I chose was Tamales, and I have no idea what masa harina is. Where do I get it? Can there be a substitute? Any other good Mexican dishes you would reccomend? I would appreciate the input!



Thanks in advance,
-Lauren-
Hi,

I've been away for a long time. Unfortunatelly, some of the information you were given is incorrect. Masa Harina is a fine flour made from prepared dry corn. It is used to make the dough from which tortillas, tamales, sopes, gorditas and other such things are made. You can sometimes find the already prepared dough. It usually has lard in it so it is no appoporiate for vegetarians.

If you have never made tamales before, I would not venure to demonstrate them. Try instead "Sopas." Easy, delicious and you can use just about anything to make them.

Masa Harina is now readily available even in big Safeway, Albertsons type markets. The most commonly available is Quaker but there are others that are better. Sometimes the Quaker is a bit too granular to work properly.

To make Sopas, make your dough according to the directions on the Masa bag, the pat it into disks about 1/4 inch thick and about 3 to 3 1/2 inches in diamiater. Fry until golden brown but not crisp in about 1/4 inch of vegetable oil. As soon as they come out of the pan and are cool enough to handle but still warm, pinch the edge all around to form a lip that is about 1/4 inch tall. Now all you do is fill them with something nice. It can be as simple as just salsa, or salsa and cheese and then popped back in the oven til the cheese melts. Or you can put bits of cooked meats, chicken or fish or seafood on them, top them with a bit of guacamole, salsa and sour cream. They are a sure party pleaser.

To see what they are suppost to look like go to Google and click on "images." Then type in Sopas. You'll get a lit of different photos of what they look like and the infinate varities they can be made in.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,

Geraldine Dun cann
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Old 05-25-2005, 11:26 AM   #9
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Thumbs down Masa Harina--Not Always a Good Thing...

Just a word of caution...make sure your Masa is made from organic corn and "NOT" GMO. Genetically Modified. I do not want to promote this sort of food...read this and you'll know why:
http://www.vegsource.com/articles/gmo_feed_myth.htm
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Old 05-26-2005, 08:28 PM   #10
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Geraldine has a great idea... I used to LOVE going out for sopas at a regional "antojito" (craving) place. The "heavy duty" sopas have the following on them:

a thin spreading of acientos (burnt fat from cooking)
some crumbled beef or shredded chicken
shredded lettuce with a little shredded carrot for color
a few rings of lemon cured red onion
optional:
cream, crumbled cheese and your favorite hot sauce.

Hmmm... Im making this my next project. I havent had sopas in at least 4 years... I had forgotten about them completely.
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