pinole

What is Pinole and How do You Make It?

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Pinole is a traditional food that has its origins in pre-Hispanic times. It is made from corn flour, sweetened with piloncillo or sugar, and mixed with cinnamon.

Its name comes from the Nahuatl pinolli, which means ground and roasted corn.

In ancient Mexico, it was used as an energy drink, especially during long journeys on foot. 

Currently, it is used to make hot or cold drinks and cookies (see cookie recipe below), and even in Colima, it is consumed as candy.

In other regions of the country, it is combined with anise and is used in “novenarios” (nine days of mourning) or popular festivals.

On the other hand, in Chiapas, it is mixed with water and taken as a substitute for coffee or Pozol.

In the Sierra Tarahumara, the inhabitants separate the best corn to make pinole at harvest time. 

How to make Pinole

pinole
Grinding the corn kernels in the metate
  • 1 kg of corn kernels, the best quality and clean
  • Dry the corn kernels in the sun
  • Roast the corn kernels in a comal or pan for 20 minutes or until they start to crackle
  • Grind the corn kernels. You can use a metate, coffee grinder, or food processor
  • Add the piloncillo or sugar
  • Grind to a fine powder

To enjoy pinole’s delicious taste and benefits, here are some easy recipes to prepare at home:

Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg of wheat flour 
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda 
  • 3 cups of pinole 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening 
  • 1 pinch of salt, chopped nuts to taste
  • 3 tablespoons of lard
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon powder (for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup refined sugar (for garnish)

Process:

  • Sift flour together with baking powder and baking soda
  • Shape this mixture into a “volcano” on a flat surface
  • Place the rest of the ingredients, except the lard, in the center and mix gradually until you have a smooth paste
  • Add the lard progressively; you should obtain a malleable dough. Preheat the oven to 175 ºC
  • Shape the dough into desired spheres and flatten them with the palm of your hands until they are 1 cm thick 
  • Line baking sheets with silicone or waxed paper, place the cookies and bake for 15 minutes

Garnish:

Mix the cinnamon with the sugar and bathe the cookies in this mixture while they are still warm.

Pinole atole

pinole

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of pinole
  • 1.5 L of milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup sugar (or to taste)

Instructions:

  • Put 1/2 liter of milk in an empty pot, add the pinole, and stir to dissolve; set aside
  • In another pot, heat the rest of the milk with the cinnamon, and when it comes to a boil, add the milk with the pinole; lower the heat and cook until it boils for 10 minutes
  • Add the sugar and constantly stir so that it integrates and the atole does not stick. Serve immediately

Pinole benefits

Pinole is a powerful source of energy, thanks to its carbohydrate content.

It provides minerals such as iron, phosphorus, and magnesium and reduces the risk of anemia.

It is good for celiacs as it does not contain gluten.

Due to its fiber levels, it helps to combat constipation and helps to improve kidney function and blood circulation.

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