Recipe from Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations Cookbook

This simple sweet corn dumpling wrapped in corn husk is a Hopi traditional recipe called Someviki. It is wonderful served with a spicy chili sauce. Traditionally this dish is made with culinary ash however you can use baking soda to achieve a similar result. I was able to find culinary ash here.  Ash is used in Native American cooking not only for flavor but also as part of nixtamalization which makes the corn more nutritious. It changes the PH in the corn which also turns the cornmeal from a light grey flecked with blue to the distinctive blue grey you are familiar with.

heirloom bean and grain club


30 dried corn husks

5 tablespoons culinary ash, or 2 teaspoons baking soda

2 cups boiling water

1/3 cup sugar


1. Soak the corn husks in boiling water until they are soft and pliable.

2. Mix the culinary ash or baking soda with 1/2 cup of the boiling water in a glass and set aside.

3. Mix the blue cornmeal and sugar together in a bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups boiling water to the cornmeal and stir until it is thick. It is important that the water be boiling hot or the cornmeal will not thicken up.

4. Pour the ash water through a fine mesh strainer and discard the ash. If using baking soda you will not need to strain the mixture. Add this water to the cornmeal and stir. The cornmeal will change color and it should be about the thickness of cake batter. If it is too thin, add more cornmeal. 

5. Spoon the cornmeal mixture into corn husks and wrap them. First wrap the sides and then fold over the ends. Tie a small strand of husk around each end to secure it.

6. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Submerge the tamales in the boiling water for 12-15 minutes until they have plumped up and become solid.  Serve them hot with a side of chili sauce for dipping. 


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