Two of the most popular recipes I have on the blog and on my YouTube channel are Colombian arepas and empanadas. And because of this, one of the questions I have been asked the most is how to substitute the precooked corn meal to make them? I get this question a few times a week, especially by people who live outside of Colombia and who live in places where they can’t get their hands on this product. For this reason I decided to film and upload the recipe on how to make the “masa” or dough without having to use the precooked corn meal.
Making this masa is very easy as long as you have the right type of corn which is usually “white hominy corn” and every now and then “yellow or golden hominy corn“. And what is hominy corn? It’s simply a sugarless, dry corn that doesn’t have the outer shell. This type of corn has been used to make arepas, empanadas, tamales, natilla, buñuelos, pandebonos, among other things for hundreds of years. And actually, the precooked corn meal was not available until the mid 20th century, but before that, all of these recipes were only made by using hominy.
Even though the flavor of this fresh hominy is somewhat better than the precooked corn meal, I always use the corn meal at home because the process to make the masa with the hominy takes way too long. However, it is a great option if you can’t find the corn meal wherever you are.
- 1 lb (16 oz/454 g) white hominy corn
- Water to rinse, soak and cook the hominy
- Place the hominy in a large bowl and take out any dirt or bad corn kernel you may find. Then rinse the hominy with water and drain it. Finally cover it with enough water and let it soak overnight at room temperature.
- The next day drain the hominy and place it in a large pot. The size of the pot depends on how much corn you are cooking. Add enough water to cover the hominy, cover the pot and bring the water to a boil on high heat. Then reduce the heat to medium low and cook the hominy for about 2 hours or until tender. Check the water level every 20 minutes and add more if necessary.
- Once the hominy is cooked, drain it well and let it cool completely. It's very important to make sure that the hominy is as dry as possible so the "masa" or dough doesn't come out too watery and soft.
- Grind the hominy using a grinder or a food processor until you get a smooth dough. Season it to taste to make arepas, empanadas and tamales.