Atol de Elote
(Central American corn beverage)
Atoles are very popular beverages in Central America with roots in Mayan cuisine. They are a sort of thick drink often eaten with a spoon. Atol de elote is based on fresh corn (elote) and has a wonderfully fresh flavor. For ultimate effect, serve it in a bowl made out of a dried calabash gourd.
Because the corn used in Central America is starchier, you may have to add the suggested cornstarch to achieve the lightly thickened consistency.
4 to 6 servings
- Yellow corn on the cob -- 6 to 7 ears
- Water -- 4 cups
- Sugar -- 1/3 cup, or to taste
- Salt -- 1/2 teaspoon
- Cornstarch (optional) -- 3 to 4 teaspoons
- Ground cinnamon -- for garnishing
- Using a sharp knife, carefully cut enough kernels off the corn cobs to make 3 to 3 1/2 cups. Then scrape the cobs with a knife to remove all their milk. Place 2 1/2 cups of the corn in a blender along with 2 cups of the water and puree well.
- Strain the pureed corn through a sieve into a medium saucepan and discard the solids. Stir in the remaining corn kernels, 1/3 cup sugar and salt.
- Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, or until lightly thickened. If the atol doesn't thicken to a creamy consistency, mix the cornstarch with a little cold water and whisk into the simmering liquid until it is just thick enough to coat a spoon.
- Pour the hot atol into mugs or small bowls, sprinkle with a little cinnamon and serve hot with a spoon to scoop up the corn kernels.
Atol de Elote Variations
- Frozen corn can be used in a pinch, but the flavor won't be nearly as good.