HomeQ&Awhat is 'cal' lime powder within cooking

what is 'cal' lime powder within cooking

3
votes

within a reciepe it ask for 100 gramos de cal. i've translated it to mean100g of lime powder. Not sure what it's refering to??

59185 views
updated MAR 27, 2011
posted by marg1979
Definitely look at Jimmy's answer.. I think he nailed it. :) - Valerie, NOV 27, 2009

19 Answers

4
votes

Cal is what the Mexican people have throughout time used to soak the hard corn in, leaving it to simmer all night over the kitchen fire embers. This is called "nixtamal"

The women used to get up very early to take the nixtamal and grind it with stones the long cylindrical stone held in the hands is called "mano" and the platform-like stone is called "metate"

This is how nixtamal is processed to turn it into "masa"

Masa is corn dough to be cooked and toasted on a "comal" - often a comal is made from the end of a 55-gallon oil drum - in earlier times they were made of ceramic

thus the traditional Mexican tortillas have been made

These days, the Mexican women usually bring the nixtamal to the tortilleria in the morning to have it turned into masa to take home to make the tortiullas

It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of cal to traditional Mexican culture

updated NOV 8, 2010
edited by Martin-Rizzi
posted by Martin-Rizzi
3
votes

cal is calcium hydroxide or quicklime or slaked lime. It is used among other things to "nixtamalize" corn, to soften and remove the outer husk and to make some of the nutrients more bio available, the corn becomes posole/homminy and thus to good tasting tortillas and tamales.

updated NOV 8, 2010
posted by jimmy3456
Yay, that's what I thought, but I didn't know how to explain it! :) - Valerie, NOV 27, 2009
1
vote

cal is calcium hydroxide or quicklime or slaked lime. It is used among other things to "nixtamalize" corn, to soften and remove the outer husk and to make some of the nutrients more bio available, the corn becomes posole/homminy and thus to good tasting tortillas and tamales.

updated DIC 2, 2009
posted by jimmy3456
1
vote

I went googled "receta 100 gramos de cal" and came up with lots of recipes that call for "100 gramos de cal". On one of them there was quite a discussion as to what "cal" actually means, because the (native Spanish speaking) poster didn't know. The general consensus was that it was referring to "sal". I have no idea if this might make sense to you. Since it's a corn recipe, maybe some salt in there would be OK. My other thought is just throwing some lime juice in.

Let us know what happens.

updated NOV 6, 2009
posted by mountaingirl123
I thought this, but 100 grams of salt is a lot! Unless you are cooking for 100 people. - 00515f39, NOV 6, 2009
agua! Dame agua! - mountaingirl123, NOV 6, 2009
0
votes

My mother was born in the 1950's in mexico and was a pueblo girl. She said they used CAL for soaking/boiling the corn to make the nixtamal which is the 'masa" for tortillas. I asked her what is CAL made from? or where does it come from? She said it came from caves in her pueblo kind of like a mining cave and people would boil it and make it into powder. I am assuming it is some kind of limestone..?

updated MAR 27, 2011
posted by galvanm
0
votes

Here it is in English - this should work

link text

updated NOV 8, 2010
posted by margaretbl
0
votes

Please go to Wikipedia with this link. I am from Guatemala and there are a number of ethnic Guatemalan recipes that call for "cal" other than when used to make tortillas. In most of them the use of "cal" is as a liquid mixed with water to soak vegetables before cooking.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_hydroxide

Some of the 'dulces tipicos' from Guatemala (like the pumpkin variety that is crystalized in chunks) uses a "lejia de cal" soak before cooking. Google: Dulce de Chilacayote.

Hope it helps you understand.

updated NOV 8, 2010
posted by mochapman
0
votes

Cal is actually garden lime or slaked lime, that you can purchase in Lowes or home depot for

updated OCT 17, 2010
posted by Gomezn
0
votes

I know that cal is the lime (like limestone) they use to make cement. Seems to me that I've heard of soaking some food in it for some reason...

updated NOV 27, 2009
posted by Valerie
0
votes

I don´t see where you all are getting the 100 grams from. The part of the recipe in question calls for a slurry made out of lime and water, one part lime for every 10 parts of water.

updated NOV 27, 2009
posted by Malenor
0
votes

Here is a site i found on google that refers to lime powder. I think we have solved the mistery

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/all-natural-lime-powder-8-oz

updated NOV 6, 2009
posted by jamesgv0r
That is brilliant, but why not use natural limes? - 00515f39, NOV 6, 2009
0
votes

You know how there are garlic powder and onion powder for cooking? I wonder if this would be something like "cal en polvo" or "polvos de cal". Since it's a corn dish, lime as an ingredient makes sense. I am back to the thought of throwing some lime juice in as a substitute, unless you have access to lime powder.

updated NOV 6, 2009
posted by mountaingirl123
0
votes

100 grams = about 4 ounces. that would be a lot of salt or baking soda. Now I am really curious.

updated NOV 6, 2009
posted by jamesgv0r
0
votes

The reason I would think it is baking soda comes from most of the sites I found when I goggled it. Calcium Carbonate came up many times.

Give us all the ingredients and we will have a bake off. Each person can add 100 grams de cal. Using de cal as what ever you personally think it is. Now I wonder what results we would get. big surprise big surprise

updated NOV 6, 2009
edited by jamesgv0r
posted by jamesgv0r
good point... - mountaingirl123, NOV 6, 2009
BiCarbonate is different to Carbonate. - 00515f39, NOV 6, 2009
0
votes

Here is a example of "cal" in a reciepe -- I got this from WR.


"los huevos se cubren con una lechada de un tanto de cal por diez de agua" de esta manera.

The eggs are covered with a one unit of lime per 10 units of water.

updated NOV 6, 2009
posted by Daniel
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