Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Atole (Atolli)

The word Atole as spelled in Mexican Spanish comes from the Nahuatl word Atolli, which is still used in that language; and "Atole" is basically pronounced the same way.  It is basically Aztec corn gruel or porridge, a cross between a soup and a beverage.  It is very comforting on cold winter days or nights!  While the recipe is very basic, this particular one comes from E. Barrie Kavasch's Enduring Harvest and is found in the section dedicated Dias de los Muertos, which are coming up next week, and in parts of Los Angeles and a few sacred sites in Mexico, have already begun.  She has that it can be made with yellow or blue cornmeal, but any good quality cornmeal of any color will work.  Pacqui Miccaihuitl!


5 cups warm water
1 cup fine yellow or blue cornmeal
1 tsp. salt
pinch of chamisa (Hopi word for cooking ash, its burn herbs, or use a pinch 
   baking soda)
1 tbsp. honey

1.  Dissolve the fine cornmeal in 1 cup warm water.  Bring the other 4 cups of water to a boil.  Gently add the wet cornmeal to the boiling water, stirring briskly until it thickens.  Add the salt, chamisa (or soda) and honey, stir well over lowered heat.  Simmer for 5 minutes.

2.  Serve hot or cool.  If you want a thinner drink, additional water or milk.  In addition to this being a very, very traditional recipe, it is also a sacred one, and one that is used as medicine--it is good for an upset stomach.  There are all sorts of variations on this, but that is best saved for another post.

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