Nixtamal is a traditional process involving soaking and partially cooking corn with wood ash or lime. This method releases niacin, an amino acid that contributes to reducing bad cholesterol, increasing good cholesterol, and aiding digestion.
Corn itself is rich in fiber, folate, and vitamins B and C. To make Nixtamal tortillas, you can purchase nixtamal corn flour from the ethnic food aisle, Mexican or Latin grocery stores, or online.
Total Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 5 servings
- 2 cups masa harina (corn flour)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups warm tap water, plus more as needed
- Plastic wrap
- Waxed paper, as needed
- In a large bowl, whisk together the masa harina and baking soda.
- Add water and stir until a soft dough forms. If the mixture doesn’t form a soft ball, gradually add warm water in one tablespoon increments until it does.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set aside for five minutes.
- On a clean, dry work surface, gently knead the dough for one minute. Divide it into 16 equal balls, each approximately the size of a small plum.
- Roll out each ball of dough between pieces of waxed paper into 6-inch rounds.
- Heat a griddle or cast iron skillet over high heat until smoking.
- Place the dough on the griddle and cook for 30 seconds. Flip with kitchen tongs and cook until lightly toasted, with tiny bubbles forming in the tortilla, about 30 seconds more. Work in batches.
- Transfer the tortillas to a clean kitchen towel and wrap them gently. Serve warm.
Technique Tip: To store any unused tortillas, cool them to room temperature and refrigerate, tightly wrapped in a kitchen towel, for up to one day. Reheat on a baking sheet four to six inches from a heated broiler for 10 seconds.