Mexican food is a popular cuisine for both home cooks and restaurant diners alike. Mexico has a rich, ancient cultural history which is inextricably linked to its culinary heritage. The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire in the 16th century was one of the primary events in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. The arrival of the Spanish and subsequent immigrants has brought many new foods and cooking techniques to Mexico.
Since the pre-Hispanic period, some of the core ingredients used have been and remain corn, beans and chili peppers. Dried corn, via a long, complex process known as nixtamalisation, is softened, ground and transformed into a corn dough known as masa. Masa forms the basis of many staples in the Mexican diet such as corn tortillas, chilaquiles and tamales.
Corn tortillas are soft flat breads that are an essential part of the Mexican dinner table and are served as accompaniments to most dishes. In the UK, due to the complexities of producing masa, these tortillas are generally made out of dried masa that is made into a flour called masa harina.
Hence, I was really excited to discover a London-based company called True Masa who use masa to produce both fresh and vacuum-packed corn tortillas using traditional Mexican ingredients, methods and equipment. I spoke to Alastair Westwood, the General Manager of True Masa, who told me the story of his company. You can hear the interview by clicking on the play button below.