Monday, 23 March 2009

The art of tortilla making in Guatemala

I loved the 'hand-clapping' sound of tortilla-making that is very prevalent in Guatemala. I was even lucky enough to get to try to make a tortilla and, I can tell you, it is not as easy as the Guatemalan women make it out to look- the dough kept on getting stuck to my hands!

To make a tortilla, "nixtamalized corn" is used to make the dough (masa). Nixtamlized corn involved dissolving the hardened corn kernels in boiling water in which an alkali has been dissolved (in Guatemala, the alkali used is calcium hydroxide).
The masa is cooked on a comal (a traditional stove made with a heavy steel or iron sheet used as the cooking surface) that is heated with firewood, giving the tortillas a slightly smoky flavour.



Sweta said...

This is similar to the way some women make 'chapathis/rottis' in India. These are either made with wheat flour/rice flour or sometimes with locally grown millets!!
Looks like you've had a great time on your trip!! Welcome back :-)

Anonymous said...

I am of Indian origin and we make a bread called, Rotlo, made with Buckwheat flour and that is exactly how we make them.
Brings back memories.
Thank you for sharing.