The Basics: Masa Harina


Cooking Essentials

The Profile

Masa Harina

 Masa harina is a finely textured corn flour that has been treated with lime. It is used to prepare a number of authentic Mexican recipes ranging from traditional corn tortillas to gorditas, tamales & so much more. When other simple ingredients are added, many times just water & a bit of salt, masa forms. It is considered the basic dough that is shaped & cooked in a variety of ways to create the more precise specialties. Masa harina is readily available from most corner markets. Since it is made from corn, it is naturally a gluten free ingredient. Masa harina is made by soaking dried corn in calcium hydroxide then grinding it. The result of this process is a corn dough which is then dehydrated & sold as corn flour. Learn about some of the different recipes that may be prepared from masa harina & drop in daily for tutorials that teach you how to master them.

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How To Use Masa Harina

The procedure in which masa harina is made gives it a distinctive taste so do not try & substitute plain yellow cornmeal in recipe applications that specifically call for it. You can however make a flavor batch of cornbread using masa harina if you so choose. 


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Masa harina may be used to make a variety of appetizers & main dishes. Place it in a zip top bag after opening & store in a cool, dark location up to 9 months.

No. 1

Corn Tortillas 

Basic corn tortillas may be blended, formed & pan fried quickly then used to make street tacos, Authentic Beef Enchiladas, Charred Salsa Verde & Chicken Enchiladas, American-Style Beef Tostadas & chicken tostadas. Cut them in triangles & deep fry them for a fresh, wonderful batch of tortilla chips that may be served with Charred Salsa Verde made with tomatillos, Homemade Salsa or guacamole. This versatile staple is used as a foundation for many additional specialties, too.

No. 2


Homemade tamales are a real treat when made well & eaten immediately after the cooking process. Masa is made with the masa harina that is then portioned in corn husks usually with a meat filling of some sort, generally seasoned chicken or pork. The rolled & secured filled corn husks are then steamed. Tamales may be accompanied with a wide variety of gravies or sauces.

No. 3


Gorditas are much like pita bread, however they are prepared with masa harina. Thick corn tortillas are cooked on a griddle & during the process, they puff slightly in the center to create a pocket. Gorditas are sliced horizontally & filled with a variety of delicious flavor combinations. Depending on the region, gorditas may also be fried.

No. 4

Tetelas Oaxaca

Tetelas begin with a masa dough that is then filled with a relatively creamy yet stiff filling. Once the filling has been added, they are wrapped in a triangular shape in order to secure it. Tetelas are cooked on a griddle & may be served with many toppings & sauces.

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* Southern Born * Southern Bred * Tailgate Queen * Football Fanatic * Buttermilk Lipstick Culinary & Entertaining Techniques Instructor * Cooking & Baking Tutorials * Media Personality * Baking & Pastry Artist * Gardener * Runner * Retainer of Useless Pop Culture One Liners * Terrible Dancer * Even Worse Singer * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Rebecca Gordon shares over 20 years of cooking knowledge in the instructional filled original editorial content on Buttermilk Lipstick as well as the cooking class format videos that can be found on her YouTube channel through regular collaboration with numerous media outlets. Gordon draws from an extensive background in corporate publishing spanning over 13 years on both the business and editorial side focusing on women’s southern lifestyle. She is a classically trained pastry chef and draws from fine dining restaurant experience from a James Beard award winning chef as well as her southern roots upbringing to share cooking, entertaining & style content relevant to today’s modern woman.


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