Atlas y Calendario de Fiestas del Patrimonio Cultural de Panamá

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Bollos de Maiz Nuevo


[Green corn waiting to be peeled and degrained.]

Green corn waiting to be peeled and degrained.


[This is how the corn is peeled and then cut.]

This is how the corn is peeled and then cut.


[The grains are milled usually in a manual machine.]

The grains are milled usually in a manual machine.


[After the milling, the resulting pulp is packed inside the corn peelings.]

After the milling, the resulting pulp is packed inside the corn peelings.


[The bollos are then put to cook in hot water for and hour. After that, they will be ready to eat.]

The bollos are then put to cook in hot water for and hour. After that, they will be ready to eat.


By:

Marino Jaén Espinosa
2009-07-11

In Panama, we have many variations of the dish internationally known as tamale. Some of them are called tamal and some bollo. All are maize-based dishes. The variations include recipes where soft (tender) and hard corn are used. In the case of the Bollo de Maiz Nuevo, it is a soft corn dish.

After the tender corn ears are harvested, the first step is to peel away the cornhusk. This has to be done with care, since later, the cornhusk is going to be used to pack the bollo. After the ear is peeled, we need to extract the corn grains. However, since the corn is still tender, this can not be done by hand alone, you need a knive to cut the grains, while making sure most of the grain is extracted.

The grains are milled in a milling manual machine. This machine is omnipresente at kitchens all over Panama's countryside. The resulting mass is lightened with a bit of water and both salt and sugar are added. Then the mass is poured inside the cornhusks . They are tied and put to cook into boiling water for around an hour.

After that time, the bollos are ready for the table. This dish has some variations such as the type of cornhusk used for packing. Some people seek the purple cornhusk of certain maize subspecies. These husk color the surface of the bollo while it is being cooked and many people find the exotic color appealing.


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