Two Mexican tortilla experts arrive in Koudougou.

In Burkina the consumption of pasta and bread made from wheat flour is increasing, faster than the population. In Koudougou a new bakery has just been inaugurated. However, Burkina does not grow wheat. But the production of maize is also going up, once again faster than the population. That is how we came to ask ourselves: Should we accept being shaped by globalisation? Every passing year our food dependence becomes more acute. That is why we decided to bring two Mexican chefs to our country!

Les deux restauratrices mexicaines3 femmes burkinabè s'initient à la préparation des tortillasWhy Mexican? Because maize is the staple food of Mexico, in particular the tortilla, which is a small flat piece of dough, of a size somewhere between a pancake and a pizza. It is traditionally made from maize/corn grains that undergo a special process, called ”nixtamalisation”.

This is how Wikipedia describes the process: ”Cover 1 kg of maize with water in a pot and heat. When the water starts to simmer add ½ a litre of water mixed with one tablespoon of lime diluted in a bit of water. Mix it all and boil for 5 minutes, than leave to macerate the whole night: The next day drain and rinse the grains under water, rubbing them quickly with your fingers to remove the husks, then grind in a grinder. The dough, called masa, thus obtained will be ready for making tortillas.”

La plus jeunes, Zalissa, s'initie au maniement de la presse à tortillaDe gauche à droite : préparation des boulettes, travail de la presse et cuisson The two Mexican women arrived in Koudougou a few weeks ago and here they are at work. After a few experiments with the material available, they could start teaching a few women how to prepare tortillas: they first let the participants prepare a few balls of maize dough, which are then flattened in a press to obtain the small flatbreads of a thickness of 3 mm and about 20 cm in diameter. The flatbreads are then put on a metal plate and heated until they turn a golden brown and solid.

1 kg of maize will yield 30 to 40 tortillas. Now they need a filling. Here there is no shortage of ideas: Our Mexican guest teachers have hundreds! And the women in training are not far behind, nor the restaurant owners of Koudougou. We are going to multiply the experiments and find out which recipes are most appreciated by the Burkinabè. I can already tell you that a tortilla dipped in a bowl of local dégué earned a high mark. Just like the fish cream prepared by a woman cook who runs a small eatery nearby. It already appears that for the price of a sandwich (her ”small” variety) she can make two fish tortillas, which would be much nourishing than a sandwich.

Students of Koudougou, just think about it!

Koudougou February 2014.
Maurice Oudet
Director, SEDELAN

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