Monday, December 12, 2016

Native Americans of the Southwest: Hopi Corn Cakes

As I mentioned before, I'm now teaching hands-on social studies in Trevor's fifth grade class every week. I'm sharing the best of the history-based cooking projects, crafts, music, and more that I did with my own fifth grade students back in the day. It's been awesome!

Last week, we studied the Native Americans of the Southwest. We looked at Acoma pottery, listened to Tewa music, and learned to make Hopi Boiled Corn Cakes.



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Hopi Boiled Corn Cakes

(makes 12 small corn cakes)

                                       1 cup cornmeal                   ½ teaspoon salt
                                       1 cup boiling water             15 corn husks
                                       ¼ cup honey

Soak the corn husks in hot water until they are soft and pliable. Meanwhile, put cornmeal in a bowl. While stirring, gradually add most of the cup of boiling water. Stir in the honey and the salt. The mixture should be thick enough to hold its shape, but should not be dry or crumbly. Add the remaining boiling water if needed to bring it to the right consistency.


Drain the corn husks. Set out 12 husks. Put an even amount cornmeal mixture in the center of each husk. Fold each husk around the cornmeal. Shred the remaining husks into strips and use them to tie the parcels.


Boil the parcels for 15-20 minutes. 


Let them cool for a minute or two, then unwrap.

 


Eat and enjoy!

 

A few notes:

  • There are 33 students in Trevor's class, so we made three batches of corn cakes. I started with four students (chosen by random draw) who made the first batch and formed one corn cake each. The next eight students used that same batter to each form a corn cake. The next four students made the second batch. We continued this way until everyone had a turn. 
  • When I used to teach this recipe, we made it earlier in the year when fresh corn was available and corn husks were free for the asking. This is not the case in December. The dried husks (affiliate link) are inexpensive and readily available, but when cooking in the classroom, always choose free whenever possible.
  • The easiest way to portion the corn cakes is with a cookie scoop. (affiliate link) 
  • Many of the kids had difficulty tying the corn cakes with the strips of husks. We secured all the corn cakes with string before putting them in to boil. Better safe than sorry.
  • You do not need a stove to cook in the classroom. A portable burner (affiliate link) costs as little as $11 and works perfectly. I kept two in my classroom back in my teaching days.

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