Masa: dough at Latin American restaurants

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Masa | Masa harina [MAH-sah ah-REE-nah]

This ingredient is a foundational one for the many terrific Latin American restaurants — Salvadoran, Colombian and Mexican, for example — we have in Waterloo Region.

You will find it in the food you eat their restaurant dining rooms and, in bags, on the shelves of the grocery store sections often found in these restaurants and small eateries.

As such, these businesses are warm and casual community hubs that add much to the rich fabric of our food culture. (Think: America Latina on Victoria Street, Kitchener.)

Beef tacos at America Latina /

The word masa is “dough” in Spanish (masa harina is, literally, “dough flour”). It’s a traditional and key ingredient for Latin American cooking.

Taking sun- or fire-dried corn that’s been cooked and treated in lime water (calcium oxide), the soaked kernels are ground into a flour.

That flour is used to make the tortillas that make your wonderful tacos.

Tamale, made with masa, by Pupuseria Latinos /

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