I'm very curious as to the many types of pan-mexican/central american atoles and their ingredients. I already know about champurrado, canela, and plain atole, as well as the various fruits and tropical fruit atoles and nuez. Can anyone inform me of interesting atoles along with experiences and what region/state/town they come from? I'm very interested in regional differences and obscure types of atole and by expansion mexican foods. For instance, are there any atoles flavored with coffee or made with plantains?
In the winter my grandmother would make atole for breakfast. It always reminded me of runny cream of wheat with cinnamon sticks and sugar. She made it out of canned milk too. I've been wanting to try making it lately and found this link some years back:
This is a list of drinks and thier recipes. You will find a few atole recipes but they are all in spanish.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of variants of atole. The beauty of Mexican food is that people used whatever happened to be plentiful and local for dishes when specific ingredients either weren't available or didn't grow in that particular region.
I happen to love atole de zarza as made in Michoacan. One of the more unusual versions I've come across is atole de grano, also from Michoacan. I've only seen it in Patzcuaro (though it may be other places) and is usually only available in the late afternoon and evenings. There are 2 or 3 indigenous women that set up their charcoal braizers and heat large caldrons of the atole complete with chunks of corn on the cob. They'll ask if you want your serving to go or to eat there and if you want the chunks of corn or not.
It's a hauntingly delicate corn and fennel combination that at first bite seems quite ordinary and rather underwhelming. But keep eating and by the time you're about halfway through the bowl (it's served like soup, not a beverage) the atole has begun to work it's magic and make the taste buds stand up and take notice. There is something rather addictive about the very smooth and subtle combination of corn and fennel.
Here are some other versions of atole for which I have recipes
Atole de Amaranto (amaranth) aka Atole de Semillas de Alegria
Atole de Capulin (wild cherry)
Atole Amarillo ( with piloncillo, chile and anis)
Atole de Arroz
Atole de Elote (includes epazote and a health dose <15 ea> of serrano chile)
Atole de Chicaros (peas)
Atole de Granos de Elote con Canela
Atole de Pinon (pine nuts and uses no masa)
Atole de Datil de Palmilla
Atole de Trigo (toasted flour)
Atole de Semillas de Patol (sorry someone else is going to have to translate "patol")
Atole de Cuarenta Dias (purple corn and piloncillo)
Atole de Maiz de Teja
Atole de Masa con Epazote
Atole de Mezquite (Mezquite is not mesquite, they're actually vines, most likely from chayote or calabasas)
Atole de Pirul (Pirul is a type of pepper tree, very common in California)
Atole de Puzcua aka Atole de Maiz Crudo
Atole de Semillas de Girasol (Sunflower seeds)
Atole de Pina
Atole de Agrio Maiz (sour corn)
Atole de Calabaza
Atole de Tempechkitles (Tempechkitles are a fragrant tree fruit similar to an avocado, the flesh is red and yellow and they are harvested in July and August. I've never seen one or eaten one, but I have an atole recpe for them <gg>)
Atole de Coyol (coyol is a type of plant, similar to epazote I believe)
Atole de coco (one of the few atole recipes I have that uses milk)
Atole de Masa Martajada (have never been able to translate this one)
Atole de Frijol Negro
Atole de Camote Malango
Atole de Miz Remojado (common in the Mayan communities of Quintana Roo. Dried corn has to be soaked overnight)
Atole de Maiz Sancochado (dried corn and squash seeds)
Atole de Maiz (starts with dried corn, is made for breakfast for workers going to the fields)
Atole con Pepita (seasoned with salt, not sugar)
Then there is the whole category of Pinole drinks which are made from a finely ground corn meal flour.
None of the atole I've ever been served (or observed being made) ever resembled "corn mush", or at least mush as it's known in the U.S. My experiences with it has always been as a smooth, often silky, liquid with a little bit of body, usually the consistency of a thin cream soup (more or less, just a reference point for you). Regional differences being what they are in Mexico, it may be thicker or thinner in some areas than others. Here are at least 2 of the recipes you requested, both are from Recetario Nahua del Norte de Veracruz, which was title #1 in the Cocina Indigena y Popular series put out by Conculta.
As a word of caution, the quantities (when listed at all) and ingredients will be accurate, some of the recipes in this series of cookbooks are a little short on preparation instructions. I would guess in part because the recipes are so typical that everyone already knows the basics of making them, and (I think) because cooking skills are learned young and not a foreign concept to those using the cookbooks. I've translated them as accurately as I can, if you, or anyone else reading them spots an error, please, feel free to post a correction.
Atole de Calabaza (this recipe contained NO quantities for the ingredients, assume that everything is to taste)
Una Calabaza - 1 squash (size and type undefined, though it is most likely the Calabacita Criollo, a variety of Cucurbitaceas. I don't think I'd try this with zucchini)
Panela - which in this case is piloncillo, not cheese
Leche - milk
Canela - Mexican cinnamon
Peel and seed the squash, cut it into small pieces and cook for 15 minutes (cooking method for the squash not included). Stir in the canela to the cooked mixture; then add the milk and piloncillo and boil for 5 more minutes. Lower the heat and it is ready to serve. This can be served at any time of the day or night and for any ocassion
Atole de Coco
Un coco - a coconut
1/2 Kg de masa - 1 lb of masa (assumes masa preparada, not dry Maseca or Quaker masa harina)
Panela o Azucar (al gusto) - piloncillo or sugar (to taste)
Canela (al gusto) - Mexican cinnamon (to taste)
Leche - Milk
Agua - Water
Peel a regular sized coconut and remove the thin, brown inner skin. Using either a metate or molino, grind the coconut meat. Then mix with water and the masa (how much water was not indicated, nor for how long or what the mixture should look like, A gallon of water might be a likely starting place given the yield on this recipe). Strain into a pot and put over a slow fire. When it just reaches the boiling point add the milk, sugar or piloncillo and the canela. Stir to combine and continue heating until the sugar is dissolved. Serves about 10-15 people and can be served at any time day or night and for any occasion.
Thanks so much! I really like atoles, but don't know how to make them (except de canela and champurrado). These recipes are great. I know what the consistency is supposed to be, and only referred to atoles as "corn mush" because i've heard others refer to it as such.
I think the cooking method for the squash is boiling, because that seems to be the favorite mexican cooking method. Conaculta sounds like a great series and I'm planning on ordering a few from gandhi.com/mx.
I just came across an interesting variation on atole - using toasted barley flour. In one form or other it is a traditional food from Ecuadorian highlands, called Machica. Following the recipe on the back of a package imported barley flour I made up a piloncillo and canela syrup, and then thickened it with the barley.
An anthropology book about a poor Ecuadorian mountain community describes a traditional breakfast, in which a pot of piloncillo sweetened water is set out along with a bowl of barley flour. Diners are invited to mix their own to taste. Apparently preferences can range from a slightly thickened drink to almost dry barley.
That in turn reminded me of tsampa, the Tibetian staple of barley in tea.
Check out this thread kirin
Guerrero is a state famous for its atol de ciruela - plum atole - we have a guerreran pozoleria here in San diego that makes it in winter only.
Check out this stunning green chileatole on this page
Eat Nopal might be better to answer the question but I havent eaten or seen people eat pan dulce in Guadalajara, Tijuana or California with atole. I dont see why not thought. But it is defitely the beverage of choice for eating tamales in the morning.
2 weeks ago when I was in Tijuana I saw a whole magazine devoted to atole variations.