This week I made a soup that called for a quarter cup of masa de harina. I haven’t used masa, cornmeal dough, much in my cooking, in spite of a lifetime in the Southwest. Masa de harina , or just masa harina, is a dry powder made from corn and is the main ingredient in delicious corn tortillas and tamales. It’s also used as a hearty thickener for soups, stews, and chilis. For those on a gluten-free diet, this is a wonderful option to wheat and wheat flour.
If you purchase masa harina in a paper or plastic bag, remember to re-package it in a sturdy PETE container with an oxygen absorber for the longest possible shelf life. Oh, and learn how to make homemade corn tortillas! They’re a simple combination of water and masa harina, but it takes a while to learn how to produce the perfect tortilla.
Oh, don’t confuse cornmeal or corn flour with masa. They are produced in very different ways and won’t give you the same result in your cooking and baking.