I have an anthropology professor who has done most of his fieldwork in Belize, and he often shares stories from his times there. Since he is interested in food studies, most of his stories revolve around indigenous foods and the introduction of non-indigenous foods and the influences this has on culture. We’ve talked at length about corn and its global influences, and how cultures have adapted to having corn as a staple in the diet when corn was indeed not treated as such before colonization. It still baffles me, to this day, how someone figured out that treating corn with lime makes niacin more nutritionally available and the corn easier to digest. In honor of these thoughts, I made some corn cakes, although these are more Spanish in origin (so a nod to colonialization, too!), and then slathered them in local honey. That’s not so traditional, but it was damn good. Recipe follows.
1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Golden Masa Harina Corn Flour
1/4 cup flour (I used whole wheat, but all purpose white works too!)
1/2 cup boiling water
Slathering of your favorite honey (I used a local clover honey)
Thoroughly combine corn flour, flour and salt in bowl.
Add boiling water to the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon until dough is formed. Might need to add a bit more water if dough won’t come together.
You just poured boiling water into the dry ingredients. It’s gonna be hot for a minute or so, so don’t go sticking your hands in the dough. Be patient, you will have corn cakes soon enough.
Roll into balls; you’ll get about 8 balls/cakes out of this batch. Flatten the balls until they fit in the palm of your hand, so about 1/2″ thick or so.
Heat olive oil in skillet. Add cakes and fry until golden and cooked through. I cooked these on a grill pan to give them pretty marks, and to cut down on the fat. Drain on paper towels.
If you want, you can top these with honey, jam, goat cheese, bleu cheese, fresh tomatoes and basil—the sky is the limit!