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For the Love of Guam Food and More
Fresh white corn masa
...freshly prepared masa makes the best Chamorro tamales gisu!



Nothing beats the flavor of freshly made masa. Dried corn is boiled in powdered lime then soaked overnight, a process called nixtamalization. This process makes it easy to remove the outer husk of the corn kernels, and it enhances the body’s ability to absorb the nutrients in the corn. For Chamorro/Guam-style tamales, I prefer using white corn over yellow corn. Nixtamalized yellow corn is wonderful for homemade corn tortillas.

Amazon sells Honeyville White Corn in 50-lb sacks...that's the smallest volume. They also have the molino grinder and pickling lime.

Makes about 10 cups of wet kernels....which is approximately 13 cups of fresh, ground masa.


Set 1

6 cups dried white corn kernels

16 cups water


Set 2

1 tablespoon powdered pickling lime

1 cup water


Tools:   large stock pot with cover, colander, large bowl, 2 to 3 rimmed baking sheets, napkins, molino grinder


1. Place the corn in the pot. Add 16 cups of water.

2. Dissolve the 1 tablespoon of lime in 1 cup of water. Add this mixture to the pot of corn.

3. Cover the pot and bring the mixture to a boil.

4. Boil the corn for five minutes.

5. Remove from the heat and soak for 20 to 24 hours.

6. Line a couple of baking sheets with napkins or paper towels. Set aside.

7. Clean the corn in batches by placing one-third of the corn in the colander to drain.

8. Transfer the drained corn into a large bowl.

9. Fill the bowl with water, about two inches above the corn.

10. Squeeze and sift the corn between your palms. Drain the water.

11. Repeat numbers 9 and 10 until the corn no longer feels slimy.

12. Transfer corn to colander for a final, good rinse.

13. Pour corn onto napkin-lined baking sheets.

14. Repeat numbers 7 through 13 with remaining corn until all of the nixtamalized corn have been cleaned.

15. Allow the corn to dry on the napkins for 20 minutes. Remove the napkins.

16. Spread the corn evenly in the baking sheets and leave to dry uncovered for about five hours.

17. Grind corn kernels in a molino.

18. Transfer the fresh masa into Ziploc freezer bags and store in fridge for up to three days. Masa can be used to make Chamorro/Guam-style tamales.

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© Copyright Paula Quinene. Check out Guam cookbooks and Chamorro cookbooks, A Taste of Guam and Remember Guam, for more Guamanian recipes and Chamorro recipes that are tested, tried and true. Get Macarons Math, Science, and Art, for foolproof macaron recipes and techniques. Enjoy a Guam romance novel in Conquered. Most photos courtesy Paula and Edward Quinene.