Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Oregano Ginger Cornbread Recipe — Maize Molido

How was I going to replicate the organic cornbread I’ve been making (and eating) in North Carolina here in Teotitlan del Valle?, I wondered. As I cruised the village market yesterday, I saw a local woman selling small bags of ground cornmeal. I asked her to verify what it was, since I wanted plain ground corn. For atole, she replied, in Spanish. Nothing more than corn. Maize molido. I thought, oh, good, local from her milpa.

Cornbread, oven fresh. Waiting to cool and eat.

I know how they grind corn here. Almost every family has a small plot of corn, squash and beans out in the campo. This is to sustain them and their animals throughout the year. Everyone eats the same corn — animals and humans alike. There are three corn plantings and harvests a year. The last harvest is coming in now, just before Muertos.

Thankfully, I had almond milk on hand in the bodega.

Once the corn is harvested, most of it is dried. The women peel the kernels off the husks, then take the dried corn kernels to the local molino (mill). There is a mill in every neighborhood here. They choose how they want it ground, coarse to fine. What I bought was a fine ground cornmeal. Native, organic corn. Original corn. Healthy. Just perfect.

Allowed on my low FODMAP diet, candied ginger.

I followed a highly rated gluten-free recipe online, but added my own flavors to the dry meal: 1/4 t. turmeric, one tablespoon of minced, candied ginger, about a teaspoon of dried oregano I had bought fresh at the local market some months ago.

Turmeric, local dried oregano, cornmeal and gluten-free flour.

We are at 6,000 feet altitude here in the Oaxaca valley. It takes longer to bake and we need to crank up the oven temperature a bit to compensate. Baking here is as much an art as it is a science, so I watch the cornbread to make sure it is rising and not browning too fast.

Just in case you didn’t recognize oregano!

My friend Kalisa is a baker extraordinaire. She often stays in the casita when I’m gone, caring for the dogs. Of course, this is a Mexican stove! She did a translation of oven temps from Fahrenheit to Centigrade last year. We keep this on a faithful sticky note on the side of the cupboard near the oven. It helps immensely.

Mr. Armadillo supervising the baking project.

Footnote: It took over an hour to bake. The recipe called for 25 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. The texture is fine, more like a cake than a bread. Next time, I’ll see if I can find a coarse grind meal in the village. Meanwhile, I taste the turmeric and the oregano and ginger. I like the mingling of the flavors.

What can you experiment with?

P.S. A long time ago, in a land far, far away, I used to own and operate a gourmet cookware shop and cooking school. I still love to experiment.

4 responses to “Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Oregano Ginger Cornbread Recipe — Maize Molido

  1. Cathyformanplatin@gmail.com

    Good for you Norma to go for it! Sounds like it turned out pretty good; flavors sound delicious!

  2. Have you used that flavor combination before? It’s fascinating, and I’d love to try it. Of course you can solve that cracking on the top if you want, but if it’s good otherwise, not a big deal as far as I’m concerned. I also DO have to ask you about handsome Mr. Armadillo – is he from one of the Oaxaca wood carvers? The style of decoration is quite different from any I’ve seen. Best to you and your healthy diet.
    Diane

    • Hi, Diane. Mr. Armadillo was made some years ago by Berta Cruz, a very tale Ted painter from Arrazola. Her husband did the carving. I haven’t seen her in years, so I don’t know if she is still working the craft.

      I think I can solve the cracking by adding a bit more almond milk or covering it with foil for the last 15 minutes. But it tasted delicious and cut pretty easily. I never tried this flavor combo, and it worked really well. Will you try it?

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