Tag Archives: lactose-free

Cinco de Mayo Special: Norma’s Spiced-Up Corn Bread Recipe–Gluten Free

It’s Cinco de Mayo. What better way to celebrate than with CORN. Native to Mexico and first hybridized right up the road from where I live in Teotitlan del Valle, corn has traveled around the world and become a food staple for many. Of course, Cinco de Mayo was invented in the USA. Read more about it HERE.

Now, for the RECIPE. What some of you have been asking for: the cornbread recipe I created and modified over many recent bakings. I think I’ve perfected it to the point that I’m ready to publish it. It is much better than the original recipe I made and posted a few months ago from Oaxaca.

Finely textured cornbread using almond flour and Gold Mine brand corn meal

The recipe uses almond flour instead of gluten-free white flour and a finely ground cornmeal, giving it a texture more like a cake than the traditional dense, gritty cornmeal one usually encounters in cornbread. If you want something more dense, use a different flour and a stone ground meal.

Assemble the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup gluten-free almond flour
  • 1-1/2 cups finely ground corn meal
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 T. ground turmeric
  • 4 T. fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 T. dried oregano leaves
  • 1-1/2 cups almond, coconut, rice or soy milk (for lactose free) or cow milk, if you prefer
  • 1 T. white or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Prepare a baking dish. Use any one of the following:

  • Cast iron 8″ skillet, OR
  • 8″ aluminum springform pan, OR
  • 8″ x 8″ pyrex baking dish

Grease baking dish with grape seed oil. Grape seed oil can take a high temperature without burning. If you use the springform or pyrex pan, cut a piece of parchment or wax paper in a circle 1″ larger than the circumference. Oil the paper, too. I like to use cast iron because it gives a crunchy exterior.

After removing the cornbread from the springform pan

Steps to Prepare the Batter:

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and cornmeal with all the spices, oregano, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Stir until thoroughly mixed.

Combine milk and vinegar and let sit 10-15 minutes until clabbered.

Melt butter in microwave — in three 30 second increments so it doesn’t splatter or overheat.

Beat the 2 eggs with the sugar until blended, about 2 minutes.

Make a well in the flour mix. Add the milk, butter and egg mixture into the well. (A well is a deep indentation in the middle of the dry ingredients.) Mix until all the flour is absorbed into the liquid ingredients. Beat until smooth.

Pour mixture into the greased baking dish.

I grate the peeled ginger with a microplane — my new essential kitchen tool

Put on the middle rack of a pre-heated 425 degree oven. Bake 30-40 minutes until done. Test doneness with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, the baking is finished. If there are particles of batter on the toothpick, continue baking, checking every 10 minutes.

Remove. Let cool. Cut into squares. Can be stored refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 5 days, or freeze. I doubt it will last 5 days and you’ll find yourself making this recipe at least weekly.

Note: you can cut down or add to the spiciness by adjusting these ingredients. I like a lot of turmeric and ginger. To me, this tastes reminiscent of pumpkin bread.

Let me know if you have any questions. norma.schafer@icloud.com

P.S. In years past, I owned and operated a gourmet cookware shop and cooking school in South Bend, Indiana. Just a little tidbit to affirm my competence in the kitchen.

This is the corn meal I love
You can also use this brand, made in Mexico–also excellent for nicuatole

Oaxaca Corn Pudding Recipe: Nicuatole, Gluten and Lactose Free

I’m in love with native Oaxaca corn. I’m especially in love with local, organic, non-GMO corn now that I’m on the low FODMAP diet and live gluten-free for my digestive health. I went to a birthday party this week for one of my Zapotec friends. I no longer eat birthday cake. What to do for dessert?

I asked my friend Ernestina to make me traditional Oaxaca nicuatole, a pre-Hispanic corn pudding flavored with cinnamon stick and a little sugar, all water, no milk. I brought the dish to share. It was delicious and none was left.

Ernestina uses gelatin to set the pudding so it can be cut into squares. She uses white corn. Local Zapotec woman can also use stone-ground yellow corn that they buy at the corner molino and don’t add gelatin.

Ready to serve! Top with Guava or Strawberry Jam, too!

They cook the corn and the liquid down to a thick paste, thick enough to set when chilled. Thick like the consistency of heavy Cream of Wheat cereal. So thick, that when you run a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan, you see the stainless steel.

The way to serve it is to cut it into small squares and eat with a spoon. It can be served with fresh fruit, too.

Early stage consistency of heavy cream

I thought I’d give it a try and researched some recipes this morning. This would give me another option to my corn-based repertoire of Pan de Elote (corn bread) that has become a staple in my kitchen. The important thing for me, too, is no milk, no cream. In other words, lactose free.

I found few and various recipes. Here they are:

Chef Ricardo Muñoz Zurita’s Nicuatole from LaRusse Cocina

Chef Pilar Cabrera’s Nicuatole, Casa de los Sabores, Oaxaca

Mija Chronicles Nicuatole, Leslie Tellez

Cocina con Alegria Nicuatole

All the recipes use cow milk, except for the one by Chef Pilar. So, I decided to adapt and make my own.

First, I buy the cornmeal at my neighborhood molino on Francisco I. Madero at the corner of Independencia in Teotitlan del Valle. They grind the finest meal in the village, I think! You can use commercial brands, but the preferred would be Bob’s Red Mill or other organic meal, such as Arrowhead Mills. I didn’t have stick cinnamon (the village tradition) in the house, so I used ground cinnamon. For the sugar, I use a combo of natural cane and Mascabado sugar — half-and-half.

Next stage, consistency of thick Cream of Wheat

Here goes!

Norma’s Nicuatole — Lactose and Gluten-Free Oaxaca Corn Pudding

  • 2 cups of fine ground organic yellow or white corn meal
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar or more to taste
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • cinnamon, 5 small sticks or 1 tsp. ground
  • 3 cups almond milk (you can also use oat milk or coconut milk)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tbs. sugar for topping (can be mixed with cochineal for traditional red coloring)

Utensils Needed: A heavy 4 to 6 qt. stainless steel sauce pan and a heat diffuser to cook the pudding and a wooden spatula to scrape the corners of the pan while you are stirring, plus a wire whisk to disperse the corn particles into the liquid so there are no lumps.

Last stage, scrape to see the bottom of the stainless steel pan

Cooking Instructions:

  • Combine the milk, water and cornmeal in the saucepan. Whisk until particles are disbursed.
  • Put heat diffuser on top of burner and turn on to medium heat. Place saucepan on heat diffuser. Stir with whisk every 2-3 minutes for about 10 minutes until liquid starts to heat and thicken. It will be the consistency of soup stock.
Be patient, it’s worth it. Alternating whisking and stirring at the start.
  • With a flat-ended wooden spoon, stir mixture as it thickens.
  • Turn the heat on the burner down to low.
  • Continue to stir, making sure you scrape the corners where the sides meet the bottom, and across the bottom of the pan.
  • You will begin to feel the mixture thicken to the consistency of gravy.
  • Keep stirring.
  • After about 25-30 minutes, you will see air pockets in the mixture where the steam will escape. The mixture is now the consistency of thick Cream of Wheat.
  • Keep stirring until you can scrape the wood spoon/spatula across the bottom of the pan and you can actually see the stainless steel.
  • Now, it’s done. This takes about 40-42 minutes in total prep time.
Heavy duty All-Clad Masterchef sauce pan

Pour very thick mixture into an 8″x8″ glass baking pan. Drizzle with about 2 Tbs. of sugar. Refrigerate until chilled and set. Cut into squares. Yields 8-12 servings. Serve with fresh fruit such as strawberries, bananas, star fruit, guava. Muy rico!

Serve with fresh fruit: FODMAP approved pineapple, bananas, star fruit

Years ago, several lifetimes ago, I owned a gourmet cookware shop and cooking school, where I taught classes and brought international chefs and cooking teachers to demonstrate their craft. Now, I do this for fun!

In Oaxaca, I buy cooking and baking utensils at Liverpool department store. They have a well-equipped kitchen department where we can find just about everything we need/want for culinary creativity. Liverpool is all over Mexico, too. The All-Clad cookware I transported in my luggage, one piece at a time over several years. A good investment of time and weight!