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Nov 7, 2005 04:11 PM

substitute for masa harina

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I'm making a so-called Texas chili based on a recipe by Tyler Florence. The recipe sounded really good but I can't get the masa harina. It seems the masa is used as a thickening agent. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.


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    Niki Rothman

    Corn meal will work better than anything else you could use.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Niki Rothman

      I agree that corn meal is the best substitute. You can grind it finer in your blender to make it more like masa harina, if you want.

    2. If you can get some corn tortillas grind them finely in a food processor or blender. In a blender you might have to add some water, but usually I mix my masa with water into a psate before adding it to the chili anyway. It helps keep it from clumping into little masa dumplings.

      The masa aids in thickening and it adds good flavor. The tortillas are made from masa.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Candy

        The only problem with your substitution is if you're making corn tortillas. That's obviously not a good substitute.

        1. re: magnoliasouth

          Don't understand your comment. If you are making corn tortillas, you must have masa, and the absence of that is the whole point of the OPs post. I would imagine corn tortillas are available just about anywhere. I like to dry stale ones (which I always seem to have) in the toaster oven, then grind them up.

      2. Thanks everyone for the fast response. Dinner tonight was a huge success. Grinding corn tortillas in the blender and adding them in the last 10 minutes or so of cooking both thickened the chili and added an extra layer of flavor. Chowhound is the best.

        5 Replies
        1. re: steve h.

          I'm glad it worked out for you. The masa adds a flavor that cornmeal just would not.

          1. re: Candy

            Agreed! I've also tried Alton's recipe using Tortilla Chips as the thickner... EXCELLENT subsitution!!


          2. re: steve h.

            I'm making sweet corn cake and can't find masa. Any suggestions. What about regular flour?

            1. re: Aingrahan

              Regular flour wouldn't have the same flavor, plus the gluten complicates things...use ground up cornmeal or grits, a blender or food processor should be able to get it fine enough.

              1. re: Aingrahan

                Masa is like ground corn flour. You can't make sweet corn cake that calls for masa without it. You should be able to find it in the ethnic section of your grocery store, or at a hispanic market.

              1. Crushed Fritos. They will also add a similar flavor.