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[london] where can I buy masa harina/tomatillos cheaply?

relizabeth Feb 23, 2008 02:24 PM

We just returned from a few days in Mexico (and picking up my tortilla press in New Jersey en route) and I am mad for homemade tortillas. Where can we buy masa harina cheaply? Several years ago, I would buy it at the Ladbroke Grove Sainsburys which stocked the Cool Chile Co's pricey version. I'd rather buy larger/cheaper quantities. And once I'm making them, I'm sure the dreamy husband will want me to make chilaquiles. Any sources for canned tomatillos?

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  1. j
    JFores RE: relizabeth Feb 23, 2008 03:31 PM

    I've seen fresh tomatillos in Brixton, but no canned. You can get corn flour there cheaply, but you'll have to make your own proper masa. I brought a tortilla press back from home (NY) too! :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: JFores
      greedygirl RE: JFores Mar 17, 2008 08:06 AM

      Where have you seen those - in Las Americas?

    2. i
      Ice Diamond RE: relizabeth Feb 24, 2008 11:24 AM

      Not sure how cheap it would be with shipping, but Skyco does sell masa harina. That's the first place I think of, but then I'm local to them.

      I would be interested if you can source the tomatillos. I do prefer the fresh but haven't found them locally.

      1. t
        trinityabbot RE: relizabeth Feb 24, 2008 01:31 PM

        Sorry sounds like advertising but herb & spice stall borough market stock should be in 1weeks time

        1. l
          lowandslow RE: relizabeth Mar 4, 2008 03:14 PM

          There is a Colombian stall at Brixton that sells the masa for Colombian Arepas. You could make tortillas with that, it won't be exactly the same but still good. The store is tucked way in the back. next time I go I'll try to find it again so I can tell you more exactly.

          Corn flour won't taste very close since it's not treated with lime in the same way that corn is treated to make masa for tortillas so just beware of that if you go with corn flour. There's also a Nigerian corn dough (about which I know embarrasingly little at Brixton Market that I've wondered what would happen if you tried to make tortillas with it. It's not treated with lime either and obviously is a totally different thing from a different context but hey, desperate times call for desperate measures.

          The Mexican stall at Borough sells masa harina to make reconstituted masa but in comparative terms it (like everything else) is blasphemously expensive. They sell a bag about the quarter of the size of a bag of Maseca for about 4-20 times as much depending on where you were going to buy it in the US or Mexico. But what else is new? We are in London after all.

          I brought a bag of Maseca with me from the US but if I hadn't I'm sure I would have bought the Borough bag by now or I'd be experimenting with the hodgepodge of possibilities for pulling together something-like-masa listed above.

          My Mexican friends in London are getting a bit depressed and seem resigned to Tesco flour tortillas--eegads!

          If you learn of any cheaper sources for Mexican products in London--Let us know!!!

          5 Replies
          1. re: lowandslow
            JFores RE: lowandslow Mar 4, 2008 04:07 PM

            Las Americas on Electric Ave sells Colombian masa harina.

            1. re: JFores
              lowandslow RE: JFores Mar 5, 2008 02:22 AM

              Sorry...where's Electric Ave?

              1. re: lowandslow
                JFores RE: lowandslow Mar 5, 2008 02:37 AM

                The main road that the market runs down.

                1. re: JFores
                  lowandslow RE: JFores Mar 5, 2008 06:51 AM

                  didn't realize that's what its called, thanks

                  1. re: lowandslow
                    greedygirl RE: lowandslow Mar 17, 2008 08:08 AM

                    For the purpose of accuracy, and if you're not familiar with the area, it's actually on Pope's Road, not Electric Avenue. Basically, it's very near the Recreation Centre (a huge concrete monolith just off Brixton Road).

          2. t
            tangelo RE: relizabeth Mar 5, 2008 08:10 AM

            So a person could make a little extra money importing Latin American groceries, say for sale at one of the weekend markets??? My family goes frequently between Miami and London, and we never use our entire luggage allowance.

            4 Replies
            1. re: tangelo
              JFores RE: tangelo Mar 5, 2008 10:23 AM

              Go for it!

              1. re: tangelo
                smoothy RE: tangelo Mar 5, 2008 11:24 AM

                Yes you can! A can of chipotle in adobo sauce cannot be bought at the local stores. Only place I saw it was at the Borough stand for 3.50 quid for a tiny jar. Sell that and some Trader Joes corn tortillas at a fair price in front of any farmers market and you will sell out. Guaranteed.

                1. re: smoothy
                  tangelo RE: smoothy Mar 6, 2008 07:21 AM

                  I'm going to give this some serious thought, thanks! Even if I just buy it at a grocery store here, chipotle in adobo is about $1.25 and a little can of tomatillos are about the same. Harina was really cheap, but corn prices have gone up lately.

                  1. re: tangelo
                    lowandslow RE: tangelo Mar 6, 2008 09:49 AM

                    really good idea

              2. nanette RE: relizabeth Mar 5, 2008 11:26 PM

                What about MexGrocer? Are their prices any lower?


                1 Reply
                1. re: nanette
                  relizabeth RE: nanette Mar 6, 2008 04:45 AM

                  Perhaps a bunch of us can order 'food service' quantities of masa/chipotles in adobo/cans of tomatillos from mex grocer?

                2. a
                  acme RE: relizabeth Mar 8, 2008 08:05 PM

                  You might to try the following for masa harina; most of their prices seem reasonable.

                  Mariposa Collection
                  1 Winkley Street (off Temple Street)
                  Bethnal Green E2 6PY


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: acme
                    relizabeth RE: acme Mar 21, 2008 11:15 AM

                    I live and work a few blocks from here and plan on checking it out v. soon.

                  2. greedygirl RE: relizabeth Mar 17, 2008 08:05 AM

                    I'm not sure if they sell masa harina, but you can definitely get canned chipotles at a Mexican shop (I'm afraid I can't remember the name) which is tucked away in the Victoria Village Shopping Centre on Victoria Street, very near the station.

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