Make Masa: Nixtamalized Corn

About 1,500 B.C., cooks in coastal Guatemala figured out that cooking dried corn in alkali water removed the kernels' skins and produced a softer dough than unprocessed ground corn.

Masa
Whether ground or whole, nixtamalized corn "has a taste and aroma like no other food on Earth — a delicately nutty quality combined with something almost chalky and mineral-like," says Zarela Martinez.
Photo courtesy Fotolia/Dahliamm