These colorful flat breads are sophisticated enough to add a lovely, warm edge to whatever it is that they are carrying, sweet or savory.
Text And Photo By Meagan Micozzi
Some recipes, and even some ingredients, are lost but not forgotten.
Since moving to Arizona, I have often wondered why blue corn is so underutilized in culinary culture. Even here in the southwest, blue corn is almost always drowned out by the ubiquitous presence of yellow and white corns.
And then, just the other day, in the midst of my regular trawl of local cooking records and journals, I found a discussion of the significance of blue corn to the Hopi people.
Dumplings, drinks, and traditional paper-thin piki bread: the Hopi were at the forefront of harnessing, and appreciating, the unique, nutty flavor of blue corn.
Homemade, hand-made corn tortillas are another lost art (and science). Lost to gordo-sized stacks of plastic-wrapped, flavor vacuums masquerading as tortillas.
I decided to conduct a double-revival of sorts, and wrote this recipe for blue corn tortillas.
These simple flat breads are sophisticated enough to add a lovely, warm edge to whatever it is that they are carrying, sweet or savory.
Try a blue corn tortilla today to wrap up your next meal.Print
Hopi Blue Corn Tortillas
Homemade Blue Corn Tortillas
- Author: Meagan
- 1 1/2 c. (255.5 kg) blue cornmeal
- 2 c. (473 ml.) water, boiling
- 3/4 c. (74.5 g.) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 tsp. (1.5 g.) white pepper, ground
- 1/2 tsp. (1.5 g.)nutmeg, ground
- cooking spray
- In a medium bowl, sift the flour, nutmeg and white pepper together. Set the mixture aside.
- In a large bowl, pour the boiling water over the cornmeal and stir to mix. Allow the cornmeal to rest and cool for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, use well-floured hands to work the sifted flour mixture in to the cornmeal. Once the flour is fully incorporated, remove the dough to a well-floured work surface.
- Please note that this dough is very sticky – you will need to replenish the flour on your work surface and hands regularly as you handle it.
- Knead the dough for 1-2 minutes, replenishing the flour on your hands and work surface as needed and noted above.
- Pinch off 8 balls of dough and sprinkle the top of each with flour.
- Meanwhile, heat a griddle over medium-high heat. Once the griddle is hot and, again, using well-floured hands, pat one dough ball into a 3” patty. Place the patty on the griddle, grease the back of a spatula liberally and immediately use it to flatten the tortilla. You will want to press outwards from the center of the tortilla, quickly spreading it out to double its original 3” size. Toast the tortilla for at least 2 minutes on either side. The tortilla is done when dark brown spots begin to appear on its surface. These tortillas are best enjoyed right off the griddle, but you may store them in an air-tight container and reheat for later usage.
- Serving Size: 8- 6” tortillas
Meagan Micozzi grew up on the East Coast, but was fortunate enough to land in southern Arizona several years ago. Now she’s living happily ever after, taking over the world of southwestern cuisine, one chile pepper at a time. When she’s not baking, Meagan spends her time traveling east to visit family and friends, running, and hiking in the Sonoran Desert. Read more about her sweet and savory (mis)adventures in culinaria on her blog, Scarletta Bakes.
I love blue corn chips. They are always thicker and have a much more interesting texture. I have NEVER seen blue cornmeal in the store though. Is it something more common in the southwest or is it still hard to find there.
Emily, I agree that blue corn meal is a much more challenging market find, however, I have regularly been able to find an organic version of blue corn meal in health and whole foods stores such as Whole Foods which, of course, is a national chain. I believe the brand is Arrowhead Mills. I hope this helps!
Your Blue corn tortilla recipe is okay but it is NOT the traditional Hopi Piki type which are made with a ultra thin batter and very thinly spread on a hot stone or griddle then peeled or rolled off very carefully.
Oh my, are blue corn chips expensive!! And blue corn meal is hard to find on the shelves. Yet, there are some great bargains from your local farmer’s market and from Ebay. I was able to find 5lbs of organic blue corn meal for under $20 including shipping on Ebay!
Thanks, this recipe is the one I am going to be using to make blue corn tortillas (then tortilla chips) from now on!
These tortillas look beautiful! Love this recipe.
I definitely think that tortillas, and even bread itself, is becoming a lost art. Thanks for featuring this today and reminding us to go out and get our hands dirty with flour. The blue cornmeal is a nice touch to home-made tortillas and I imagine that the flavor is so much better than any commercially produced one.
Oh wow, these look amazing! Love the color of those tortillas..Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe, and mouthwatering pictures!
I’ve never heard of this blue variations, looks really interesting!
Homemade tortillas, I don’t think you can go wrong. They look great!
These are absolutely beautiful, the color making them a true work of art!
1 1/2 c. (255.5 —kg—-) blue cornmeal
~~thats alot of blue cornmeal!!
1 1/2 Cups –> 255.5 g?
Thanks for your recipe anyways, I wasn’t keen on putting ‘ash’ in with my cornmeal, as is tradition…. (so i read)
i forgot to rate your recipe~!!
During a trip to the southwest, I admired the blue Hopi corn that some of the national parks were growing as heritage displays. I thought the little plant would be great for the garden, so I ordered some seeds online from a specialty seed company and grew blue Hopi corn in the garden this summer.
Turns out the corn grows very small in the southwest because it is….a desert. Here in my midwest garden the corn grew 7 feet tall and I was blessed with huge ears of corn. I left it to dry on the stalks, until the squirrels discovered it, then I moved it inside to finish drying. A few thumb blisters later, the kernels were liberated from the ears. A half-hour and several hundred revolutions of my hand-crank grain mill later, I had 1 1/2 c of fine blue corn meal.
The recipe as-is didn’t work out too well, unless it was intended to add another cup and a half of flour to make the dough workable. I couldn’t master the mash-on-the-pan technique, so I had to roll out the dough and it was very floury. The texture was perfect, and because of this, I will give the recipe another try, next time adding only 1.5 cups of boiling water, and also adding 1/2t salt.
Thank you for the recipe so I could use my blue Hopi corn! Freshly milled grains are so great to use, I could see the natural oils coming out of the corn as the tortillas cooked.
Thank you for this receipe.
It took me over an hour to find it.
I love New Mexico cooking and especially blue corn meal.
Again thank you for this receipe. I am going to try it right now and I hope it turns out as goods as my taste buds are hoping for.
Came across yr recipe after I picked up some Valley Mills ground roasted blue corn in Arizona (tho it’s from NM). Their website calls for juniper ash in most recipes, which I understand is part of the nixtamalization process — what I believe is crucial to a really good tortilla! But juniper ash isn’t easy to find here in NYC.
In the absence of fresh masa (also rare in NYC) I usually make tortillas from masa harina, which never quite have the right texture. Have also tried Maseca, ditto. Any suggestions?
I’ve been reading all the comments, baking soda with mixed with hit water will cause a chemical reaction and cause the “purpleish” natural color of the corn to turn blue. ? I’m Hopi, and we do this if we don’t have any ash, of just at home when cooking for or families. Just makes it a wonderful blue color you’d expect. But don’t I’ve do it on the baking soda, it will taste gross, like 1cup & 1 tsp. Baking soda.
Hmmmm… I will admit that making traditional blue corn breads, such as Hopi Piki Bread, require ingredients or tools that can be extremely hard to find, which is why home cooks often need to make adaptations. The best adaptation here would be to incorporate some masa harina, which, if you can’t find locally you can order from Amazon.com. For an end result similar to a flour tortilla, I would mix your ground blue corn with simple all-purpose flour. For an end result similar to an authentic corn tortilla, I would mix your ground blue corn with masa harina. In both cases, add enough water to work your dry ingredients to a well-textured masa, separate, press and cook. I hope this helps!
That sounds like a smart way to do it, you can add ground poped pop corn for added flavor
Thank you for this recipe. In my quest to grow, process, and feed non GMO food to my wife and daughter I incorperated twenty Hopi blue corn stalks into our family garden this summer. Not knowing exactly what to do with my harvest, I stumbled upon your recipe. I tweaked it a bit adding my own farm raised eggs and Mrs Dash salt free seasoning to the mix. I multiplied the recipe by a factor of ten, and because of time and utensil limitations made a product that resemble a torta rather than a tortilla. I also cut the flour down by 2/3 and used whole wheat rather than processed white flower. Im
kind of a paleo diet guy. They tast great! I just wanted to say thank you for your help. I still have corn drying and look forward to making more. Thank you very much for your help! The star rating is not working with my phone , I give your recipe and inspiration 5 stars!
I grew up in Albuquerque NM and first had blue corn tortillas at The Shed in Santa Fe. I LOVE blue corn tortillas and am anxious to try this recipe. I probably won’t add nutmeg. Not really a New Mexican ingredient. Love blue corn enchiladas with red chili!!!
I so miss Santa Fe ever since having to move to Michigan in 2008. I have been ordering blue corn meal from Natural Grocers in Colorado and it is just over a dollar a pound. I make flat bread with the blue corn and Bob’s Red Mill amaranth flour because I can’t eat wheat. I am looking forward to trying to make your tortillas. Have you tried the amaranth flour yourself instead of wheat flour?
Thanks for your comment, Sue! I have yet to try working with amaranth flour, although it is most certainly on my baking to-do list. I hope you enjoy these tortillas – there really isn’t anything like the flavor of blue corn, is there?
I made these tonight with my almost-7-year-old son, and though it was fun making them, and they came out pretty good, I realized after the fact that the measurements are off. The recipe calls for
1 1/2 c. (255.5 kg) blue cornmeal
2 c. (473 ml.) water, boiling
3/4 c. (74.5 g.)
I’m not sure how to convert cups to grams, but if 3/4 cup = 74.5g, then 1 1/2 cups would be 149g…
FYI, having seen this recipe and trying tonight because I bought by mail Blue Corn from:
325 Eubank Blvd. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87123
I recommend their green chilies fresh frozen and in salsa– really wonderful. Happy New Year.
Just wondering why you aren’t making the tortillas the traditional way – by turning the corn into masa instead of using cornmeal. THen they are wheat and gluten-free and more nutritious and digestible. I am a big fan and I grow my own corn and make masa and tortillas all the time. Try it!!
Overall, I found this recipe frustrating. I’m in agreement with Pam, the dough so sticky that no matter how much flour you have on your hands or the board, it is unworkable and creates a mess. Seems like there should be less water and more cornmeal/flour at the outset to eliminate this. Also, it is impossible to flatten the tortillas with a spatula when the dough sticks to spatula and rips it in half. So, my tortillas ended up too thick and after ten minutes into the first one still not being cooked through, I gave up. I’m sure if I had successfully completed the recipe these would have turned out delicious, but as written this recipe wasn’t very helpful.
You were on the right track, thinking to use less water. Try it again, with less water, you might be surprised. Recipes can be played with because of the different altitudes. At times we forget to mention this part. Enjoy.
Masa Harina …without the lime process is not going to make the same product as ground corn meal. Try mixing blue corn meal WITH masa harina and water. I have never seen blue corn masa in any stores. I make my corn tortillas with white corn masa harina, water, salt and thats all …one cup masa to 3/4 cup water and a dash of salt. No required boiling of water etc.! Make balls and press them….then right on a dry naked skillet…NO oil. The skillet needs to be hot enough to boil water if you dashed some on the surface. My iron tortilla skillet has never been oiled. It gets so hot that oil would burn right off the skillet. Another point is that if the skillet is not hot enough …the tortillas will stick to the skillet . I miss Taos … my home for six years!
Susan said: “Try mixing blue corn meal WITH masa harina and water. I have never seen blue corn masa in any stores.”
I make tamales like this too!
I grew up making tortillas by hand no mixer. the recipe is not what I use when making “traditional” native tortillas is equal parts corn meal and all purpose flour and as much warm water 2 tablespoons of oil and about 2 teaspoon baking powder and quarter cup powered milk(I use reg. milk when do not have powered) some people add extra salt. I start by adding the dry together then mix oil in like biscuits(doses not need to be perfect) and move all flour to the side of the bowl add the liquid to the void and slowly stir in the flour to make sure to get the right consistency the dough should come together and but be hard like yeast dough.
it was supposed to say should not be hard like yeast dough
hi..just wondering. i have been wanting to buy some of these tortillas online..and yours look very amazing.
is there anyway i can buy them directly from you..?
if so i will pay for it all..shipping,ect.
please let me know..
please please reply back..thanx you soo much!
I am going to try these tonight.. My husband and I just moved from the East Coast too (Western NC) to Tucson… We love it here…..yes using more blue corn now and its a decent price at the Whole foods here… xoxo
Made these last night, and they were amazing – used them for buffalo tacos last night and reheated the leftover for huevos rancheros this morning.
For those worried about stickiness (as you should be!):
*reduce water to 1.5 cups
*after you have formed your balls, cut out 8 squares of parchment paper about 8″ big. Lay your first square down and place one dough ball on top. Dust with flour and pat out with your hands into a 6″ tortilla. Lift parchment paper with tortilla on it and place on plate. Repeat process with remaining balls placing each one on the previous one until you have a stack of 8 tortillas each divided by parchment. Heat pan and then flip each tortilla off of paper into pan.
Also, I did add a little salt to dough. Excellent recipe!
Amazon.com has a great selection of blue corn meal. I got mine in the post today. Excited to use it!
whoa, thanks so much for posting this! It is going to be so helpful when I get Amaranth at the grocery store! So Marvelous!
I appreciate your adding the metric measuring units — however on the blue corn flour — perhaps you meant to put in 255.5 g (grams) rather than 255.5 kg (kilograms). I love the recipe but using more than 500 lbs of flour would be more than a little daunting even for the best of bakers. Please, please provide more authentic Arizona and New Mexico native recipes — like blue corn dumplings and the bread you mentioned. I fell in love with this food when my daughter lived in Sierra Vista. If you are ever in Sierra Vista, check out Café Olé which serves a wonderful Asian salad with pineapple and chicken.
I have a problem with gluten. Do you have a recipe for blue corn tortillas made without the wheat flour?
Also can I make tamales with blue corn flour?
Thank you for your help, Sincerely yours, Jane
Perfect blue corn tortillas the first try. Put 2 cups blue corn masa in your food processor. Add 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg. Pulse food processor to mix dry ingredients together. Heat 2 cups water to boiling in your microwave. Start food processor. Slowly drizzle water into masa. As soon as the masa has had enough water it will form a ball and begin rolling around in the processor. Your dough is done! Take the dough out of the processor and wrap in plastic wrap. The dough will stay together and will not stick to your hands. Let dough rest for 30 minutes. You are now ready to flatten and cook the dough. I love adding crushed garlic, basil, Mexican 5 cheeses, 4 oz can of green chilies and thyme into my masa before adding the water. Yummy!
In the late 50’s and later, Felix Sanchez in Cuchillo, NM made his own blue corn tortillas. Thicker, they appear like thin hamburger meat in his absolutely superb enchiladas. He used it for his fabulous blue corn tamales too. His grand daughter still (as of 3 years ago)operated Cuchillo Cafe on the weekends. Call B/4 Cuchillo is 15 miles north of Truth or Consequences New Mexico on the road toward Winston. Take the first road north after the airport.
My wife and I really enjoy the recipe and the goodies that follow! The blue corn meal is, surprisingly, readily available in the local chain grocery and the local health food stores.
Many thanks for sharing!
Thanks for this! I owned a restaurant in Bisbee, Az for half a minute, and blue corn meal was my go-to in making gluten-free free breads because it actually had taste and could be used without the addition of other flours.
The idea of the white pepper and nutmeg is intriguing – one I’ll definitely be trying.
This recipe is a fail. I have glop on my griddle. Very tasty glop, I am sure.
255.5Kg of corn … Is that mean to be 255 grams?
Agree with other posters to only use 1.5 c. of water- no issues with stickiness for me (thanks y’all!)
I actually had access to blue corn masa, and didn’t realize I could’ve omitted the flour entirely! Maybe next time. These were absolutely delicious, and the spices were definitely interesting, if not traditional. The most rewarding moment came when they held up for tacos!
My first time making tortillas and it was awesome! Thanks for the recipe + inspiration.
To have “blue” color tortillas, just mix boiling water with baking soda, I’m Hopi, and we do it occasionally when we out of ash, but something not acceptable to feed the community, (you’d never hear the end of it from in-laws” ?
But its OK for us to do at home, our kids expect blue corn items to be blue, no purple…?
Good recipe, BTW..
I am gluten free, so allergic to wheat flour. How can I find a true blue corn tortilla recipe. The ancients did not have wheat flour.
You’re giving the recipe one star because it didn’t have a gluten-free option? That seems a little harsh.
Five minutes isn’t enough time to cool down the hot meal before I stick my fingers in, and I have half-a-life burning my fingers in kitchens, especially pizza kitchens, so this shouldn’t hurt! Going twice that long, and…
You should take the word “Hopi” off of this recipe. It’s bread, but it’s not Hopi bread. Sorry, that’s puffier and a bit less chewy. This recipe is ok, but if you’re looking authentic, keep going.