My wife, Jan, visits her friends in Hopi every few years. One year, her friend gave her a copy of authentic Hopi recipes that were modified by the Hopi Health Services to be low fat, low sodium, and sugar free. Although I will usually adapt a recipe and call it my own, many of the recipes in this book are too simple to be changed.
Jan’s Hopi friends impressed upon her that you were not supposed to leave the ashes in the food. You are intended to mix the ashes with the water and let the minerals infuse into the liquid. You then decant the mineralized lye water, leaving the solid ashes behind, before adding it to the dish.
Hopi Blue Tortillas
2 Tbs. culinary ash
1 cup boiling water
1½ cups blue corn flour
⅛ tsp. salt
oil as needed
1. Stir the ash into the water and let it sit until cooked.
2. Strain the ashes through some cheesecloth set in a sieve into a second cup.
3. Let the remaining ashes settle to the bottom of the cup, about 15-20 minutes.
4. Decant the clear water into a one cup measuring cup and add water to make a full cup.
5. Bring the ash water to a boil again.
6. Mix the corn flour and salt into a medium bowl.
7. Stir in the hot ash water and mix well.
8. Form the dough into golf ball sized balls and flatten them into a flat disk.
Tip: You may pat them flat with wet hands to about ¼ of an inch thick, but I used a tortilla press and sheets of parchment paper to about ⅛ of an inch thick.
Note: There is no gluten in corn meal and the raw tortillas are very fragile. The parchment paper gave the tortillas some support while I moved them to the pan.
9. Fry the tortillas in a lightly greased griddle or cast iron skillet until well cooked, 3-4 minutes per side.
Note: The original recipe called for continuing to smooth the tortillas with wet hands as they cooked.