I made posole for dinner a few weeks ago, and wanted to make it with dry hominy, a large kernel corn. After searching my local grocery without finding it, I asked for help, which didn’t work out at all. It turned into a comedy of miscommunication with me first stating what I was seeking, then spelling it, followed by guided pronunciation, physical description, then finally locating a can of it and holding it up like a television product demonstrator saying, “It’s this, only dry and in a bag. Like buying dry beans instead of canned.”
For all my work, I received blank stares and went home empty-handed.
So what is dry hominy, exactly, and how do we cook it? Hominy, aka mote, is large kernel corn (maize) that has been treated with an alkaline solution to loosen the hulls and soften the corn, an ancient process that goes back to around 1500 B.C. Then it can be cooked whole in soups, or dried and ground into meal (masa) which can be used to make tortillas, arepas, and tamales.
The dry hominy keeps well in the pantry just like dry beans do, and you prepare them pretty much the same way. To cook dry hominy, rinse the hominy clean, soak it overnight, and finish cooking the next day. Canned is pretty convenient, but if you can find the dry hominy, I think the flavor and texture is better. Look for it in grocery stores with well-stocked international sections or Hispanic grocery stores. Also, make sure that you look for mote pelado (aka nixtamal), the corn that has been processed to remove the outer hull. If the corn has not been processed, the kernels will not pop. You can read more about it at the Anson Mills website (how to make Fresh Whole Hominy).
[Updated December 2016.]
How to Cook Dry Hominy
- 1 cup dry hominy (mote pelado or nixtamal), rinsed
- Put the rinsed hominy in a 3-quart pot with lid and cover with water about 2 to 3 inches over the hominy. Cover and allow to rest overnight. Before cooking, drain well and add fresh water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 90 minutes to 2 hours. Drain well and use in your favorite recipe.
- 3-quart heavy bottom pot with lid
- 1 cup dry hominy yields about 4-1/2 cups cooked.
- A 15-ounce can of cooked hominy equals about 1-3/4 cups.