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Name Variations Edit
- harina azul
About Harinilla Edit
Harinilla is a special type of blue corn flour known. It has a texture different from ordinary corn meal which is grainier. harinilla goes through a much finer grinding process.
Harinilla has a special flavor caused by soaking dried blue corn kernels with lime, or calcium hydroxide. This soaking process results in the corn kernel expanding so that the hulls become loose and separate from the inside of the kernels. The resultant flour can also be called hominy, but harinilla, and its companion, masa harina, made of yellow or white corn, are slightly different. Hominy is frequently made with other solutions or chemicals with alkaline properties. Traditional harinilla uses only lime in the process.
Harinilla and masa harina are important staples in Mexican cuisine. They are used to make the outside coating of tamales, to make tortillas, and they are frequently added as a thickening agent to soups and stews. While you can substitute regular yellow or blue corn flour in recipes calling for harinilla, you must mill the flour first in order to produce the finer grind. This can be accomplished by using a fairly sturdy blender, a food processor, or even a coffee grinder devoted to milling. You don’t want to use a coffee grinder in which you regularly grind beans, as some of the oils of the beans will stay in the grinder and result in coffee flavored flour.
When you buy this type of flour, the color can look light blue to grayish. As it cooks it will turn a deeper blue. It can be fascinating to cook with it, and extremely exciting for kids who loved colored food. Adding harinilla to cornbread, or using it to make hominy grits can make these foods quite appealing and a nice change to your usual meals.