It is freezing cold outside, and in a day like this corn masa atole is an excellent way to keep me warm. There are many different ways to make this creamy drink, with the texture of a milkshake. Cooks use corn masa, corn starch, flour, oatmeal, toasted corn meal or rice, just to mention some.
During the times of the Aztec Empire, Atole was a common and popular drink. It was made of cooked corn grains that were grinded and then diluted with water. Sometimes sweeten with piloncillo, our unrefined whole cane sugar. Nowadays, Atoles are so diverse; we use sugar and add fruits like pineapple, guavas, strawberries or nuts to have a flavorful drink. Vanilla, cinnamon, almond, orange or lemon peel gives a sublime aroma to the drink. We also have the famous champurrado, which is an atole with chocolate.
The word Atole comes from the nahuatl “atolli”, which means "watery drink. And when it is made of just corn and water is called “White Atole”
Today you can just go to a grocery store and buy a packaged mix of corn starch with flavors as chocolate, almond, vanilla, strawberry and coconut. Or, use the dry masa harina to make an easy and warm drink since it is hard to get fresh nixtamalized corn masa outside México.
This version of Atole uses fresh corn grains and cornstarch, but you can substitute the corn for a banana in case you like bananas, no need to strain after blending or just add Vanilla and skip the fresh corn. Mexican Vanilla is my favorite.Ingredients for Sweet Corn Atole
2 cups of fresh corn grains
4 cups of milk
3/4 cup of water
½ stick of cinnamon
1/3 cup of sugar (or more to adjust to your personal taste)
5 Tablespoons of cornstarch
Note: You can use honey or any other kind of sweetener.
Dissolve the cornstarch with a cup of water until there are not lumps. Set aside. Puree corn grains with 1 cup of the milk in the blender until smooth.
Using a colander or sieve strain the liquid and pour into a pot adding the sugar, milk, the cornstarch-milk mixture and cinnamon.. Cook over medium heat bringing the mixture to a boil and stir frequently to avoid sticking, until mixture thickens. It could take 15 minutes or more to get to this point. Remove from heat and serve warm.
Corn Masa Harina Atole with milk/Atole de harina de maiz con leche4 servings
3 & 1/2 cups of milk
1/3 cup of piloncillo or brown sugar
1/2 cup of masa harina
1 cup of water
1 inch of a cinnamon stick.
In a medium size pot pour the milk and add the piloncillo, milk and cinnamon. Dissolve the masa harina with the cup of water until there are not lumps left. Add to the rest of the ingredients in the pot and turn the heat to medium. Cook stirring frequently until boiling point. Keep cooking until the drink begins to thicken. Remove from heat and remove the cinnamon stick.
When cold, the Atole will ticken a little more. reheat and add more milk or water.
Yes, it is cold outside. More Atole, por favor!!