Dry lyed corn, hominy, posole, mote, samp, nixtamal or uskatahomen these all refer to what has become known generically as hominy or hominy grits. Originally from the Algonquian language uskatahomen or dry lyed corn was a way for aboriginal people throughout North and South America to eat and use what is known as flint corn or feed corn. This hard tough corn was virtually impossible to chew and digest unless it was first prepared by soaking in either a lye or lime mix. The soaking allows the tough grain to swell up and lose the hull and germ which makes the corn easier to use and eat. This soaked or lyed grain was then generally sun dried and could be carried or used for long periods of time. The whole grain was used in soups and in particular the soup known as the Three Sisters comprised of corn, beans and squash.
Coarsely ground the corn is known as grits and it is used for cereals and puddings. Finely ground corn is known in Central and Latin America as Masa Harina and it is used to make tortillas and tamales. In the Southwest, it is called “posole,” and it is used to make hearty stews of squash, beans, chile peppers, and pork. This is actually a Spanish name which originated from the Nahuatl (aztec or Mexican) and it actually means a traditional pre-Columbian soup made from hominy, pork and chili pepper. Nixtamal or the Mexican version is prepared with lime instead of lye.
Here in Ontario, it is available in several forms many grocery stores with a good ethnic food section including Latin American and Mexican include canned under the Goya Brand which is the full kernel along with packaged under the Tifco brand that comes in the full kernel or in grit form. White or yellow grits come in 454g or 1lb packages and can be used to replace grains like barley or beans in recipes. Hominy has a chewy texture and a sweetish flavour that acts as a perfect complement to spicy dishes and bold flavours alike. Ground relatively finely is used to make Masa Harina the traditional corn flour for tortillas, pupusas, tamales and many other authentic dishes.