Masa vs. Cornmeal

By Jaxson

  • Masa

    Masa (or masa de maíz) (English: ; Spanish pronunciation: [ˈmasa]) is a corn dough that comes from ground nixtamalized corn. It is used for making corn tortillas, gorditas, tamales, pupusas, and many other Latin American dishes. Its dried and powdered form is called masa harina, masa de harina, and sometimes Maseca, the name of one commercial brand. The flour is reconstituted with water to make a dough before it is used in cooking.In Spanish, masa harina translates to “dough flour”, which can refer to many other types of dough.

  • Cornmeal

    Cornmeal is a meal (coarse flour) ground from dried maize (corn). It is a common staple food, and is ground to fine, medium, and coarse consistencies, but not as fine as wheat flour. In the United States, very finely ground cornmeal is referred to as corn flour. When fine cornmeal is made from maize that has been soaked in an alkaline solution, e.g., limewater (a process known as nixtamalization), it is called masa flour, which is used for making arepas, tamales and tortillas. Boiled cornmeal is called polenta in Italy and is also a traditional dish and bread substitute in Romania.

  • Masa (noun)

    maize dough made from freshly prepared hominy, used for making tortillas, tamales, etc.

  • Cornmeal (noun)

    Dried corn (maize) milled (ground) to a coarse meal.

    “She made a kind of polenta from cornmeal and chicken broth, with some cheese sprinkled on top.”


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