Today I went to a mini corn festival in Usulután at Alejandro’s school. A bunch of elote had been donated and each class was going to be making something different. Alejandro’s class was in charge of making riguas and elote (corn on the cob). We hopped the direct bus early this morning to get there at a decent time. When we arrived only a few people from his class were there. So we waited around a while until people showed up.
Eventually others from his class arrived and we wandered over to the tent that had been set up where they’d be making the food. A bunch of elote was there so some of us stood in a circle to detassel the corn. After detasseling we put the corn in a bucket where some other guys were cutting the kernels off. Some of the corn was left with the kernels on because it was going to be boiled for elote loco (corn on the cob with a twist).
When all the corn had been detasseled and several cobs had their kernels taken off it was time to start cooking. One group put a bunch of the elote in a large pot and carried it over to an outside faucet to fill with water. Another group attempted to make a fire. I say attempted because it took them a while. Granted, they were making it on concrete in the middle of a parking lot. But they eventually got the fire going and set the big pot full of corn on cement blocks above the fire.
Some other guys appeared to be washing the kernels that were cut off the cobs. I asked Alejandro what they were doing and he said they were getting the “little hairs” off the kernels. He said they put their hands in water and then mix them around in the corn. When they pull their hands out the little hairs have come off the kernels and they get them off their hands by putting their hands back into the water. I’m pretty sure he was talking about the little stringy bits that are left over after you detassel.
At this point I’m not sure if they took the corn to a grinder somewhere on campus (I doubt it) or if they used some sort of hand tool (more likely) to partially grind the corn kernels. But soon the corn had been turned into the masa used for riguas. The masa was thicker compared with the masa I’ve seen used before for riguas. Then the only female student in the class and Ale’s friend, Juan, began cooking up the riguas.
We all dined on riguas while the elote finished cooking. They were very tasty. And very filling. But when the elote was done I had some of that too. I choose to eat my elote without the “loco” part. That’s when the corn is put on a stick and covered with ketchup, mayonnaise, English salsa, and cheese. Sounds yummy, right? Well, it’s Salvadoran tradition. And I think some day I need to try it. I’m sure there are other things that can be put on it as well. People here also really like their chili sauce.
Eventually people from other classes came around to our area for some riguas and elote. They brought with them various foods made from elote. And some of the people from our area went to other areas to get different kinds of food. I ate riguas, elote, tortas de elote, and atol de elote. It was all delicious. I was so excited to be eating corn again that I forgot to take more pictures. But that’s okay. I’d say it was a good corn festival.
Let the detasseling begin!
Juan is a pro
A bunch of Salvadoran guys are going to cook
Cutting off the kernels
Lots of corn kernels
"Washing" the kernels
Mmmm, I'm hungry