Masa harina is a dough flour that is made from drying and grinding masa, which is a type of corn dough. Masa is commonly used to make Mexican dishes, such as tamales and tortillas. Masa harina should be refrigerated in an airtight container and can be kept for 6 months.
The word "masa" means "dough" in Spanish. Masa is typically made by cooking dried corn kernels, called hominy, and then soaking them in lime water. This technique has been used for more than 1000 years and was developed by ancient Mesoamerica. It loosens the corn hull from its kernel and releases niacin so it can be more easily digested. The process also makes more protein from the corn accessible for digestion and adds calcium to the dough.
Masa harina is most often used for tortillas, but can also be used to make pupusas and arepas. It can also be used in non-Mexican dishes as well. One recipe using masa harina is for buttermilk pancakes. This recipe also uses flour, eggs, unsalted butter, vegetable oil, baking powder, baking soda salt and sugar. The ingredients are whisked together and then cooked using a griddle. The masa harina makes the pancakes light and fluffy, with a distinctive corn flavor.